California city paying homeless in “gift cards” to clean up their encampments after public complaints

A city in California has resorted to paying homeless people gift cards to grocery stores in an effort to get them to clean up their encampments after public complaints.

Sarah Bontrager, the city’s housing and public services manager, said “As far as I know, we are the first,” to launch such a program.

She also explained “we need to reduce the amount of public complaints that we’re getting.”

“The cost of running this program for over a year has been under $10,000, when we might have run through that in one month previously just doing the regular cleanups,” Bontrager said.

Elk Grove Police Department Homeless Outreach Officer Jennifer McCue said in support of the program “We’d go there, it would just be a massive mess, we’d spend hours just cleaning and cleaning, but now we go there and their bags are ready.”