Officials in Amsterdam have enlisted the help of alcoholics to help clean the city’s streets…and they will paid for their work – in beer and cigarettes. The idea behind the program is to address a growing problem of anti-social behavior on the streets.
Homeless people who clean up the areas in which they live will be awarded five cans of beer a day distributed in the following manner: two in the morning, two at lunchtime and one at the end of the day. Those enrolled work three days a week and are also given a mere £8 per shift and a half-packet of rolling tobacco.
The concept was the brainchild of a group called the Rainbow Foundation and one of its members defended the notion of giving more alcohol to those with alcohol problems. She told AFP, “This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women. The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park.”
She added that the plan seems to be working: “They’re no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day.”
Lastly, she said, “Heroin addicts can go to shooting galleries, so why shouldn’t we also give people beer?”
A fair point.