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'Clean Start' program seeks mentors as participant list grows

The Clean Start Program in Danbury has been under way for about two months now.  The initiative puts homeless people to work for the City, and provides participants with gift cards.  About 20 participants are performing litter control twice a week, along with getting job mentoring from coaches.  Mayor Mark Boughton says there's demand for at least another 20, but they're looking for more volunteer to partner with the people participating in the program.


Boughton says the initiative has been really successful, and the City looks cleaner.  He says the participants will soon be expanding into other projects that they'd like to get to, but sometimes just can't get to.  That includes fire hydrant painting and fence painting.


Volunteers interested in helping someone who is less fortunate can contact Jericho Partnership, and they will be led through a brief and minimum training program.


Boughton says the participants are working to make themselves better and be on track to re-enter the workforce. He notes that if someone excels in the program, and received the right kinds of services, they could be moved into a paying job like a part-time recreation maintenance worker.  Boughton hopes by cleaning up the city, participants will also clean up their lives.


In the latest Point in Time Count, chronic homelessness in Danbury had dropped 30-percent from the year before. Chronic homelessness among veterans in Danbury has been completely eliminated.