San Francisco's panhandling and puppies program aims to tackle two issues plaguing the California city: homeless beggars, living hand-to-mouth, and the influx of 500 dogs brought to animal control in 2011. A new city program plans to put both to good use.
San Francisco plans to pair ex-panhandlers with puppies in a program called WOOF- Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos. In exchange for homeless folks to give up panhandling, they will receive housing and a small stipend of around $50 to $75 a week. They would also take care of puppies while doing so, giving them valuable skills.
"Ultimately we want to see people live purposeful and full lives, and this is a step in the right direction," Bevan Dufty, director of Housing Opportunities, Partnerships, and Engagement, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The plan to curb the city's aggressive panhandlers also requires potential participants to undergo a screening beforehand to prove they aren't deranged or hoarders. After that, they receive training in animal care and job skills, the puppy, dog food, leashes, access to a veterinarian, and their incentive in the form of a stipend.
"This comes out close to what they'd be bringing in panhandling," Rebecca Katz, San Francisco director of animal care and control, told The Atlantic.
The project became a possibility with a $10,000 private donation; from there, Katz and Dufty's brainstorm provided a way for the homeless to make social connections and gain job skills.
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