BAKERSFIELD, CA - If all goes as planned, some local homeless people will start cleaning our freeways full-time next month. April 25th is the tentative start date.
According to Sal Moretti, Superintendent of Bakersfield's Solid Waste Division, the contract with the Bakersfield Homeless Center is ready to go and soon so will the contract with Caltrans.
The Bakersfield City Council is expected to approve it all April 17th, then the cleanup will begin.
"It's been a long time in the making actually coming up with solutions, but the energy right now is so positive and so fast that we are actually moving quickly towards a system-wide litter solution," said Moretti.
With $250,000 in funding from Caltrans, the plan is to pay two crews of six homeless to clean the freeway five days a week.
"We will have a clean freeway quickly with this process," said Moretti.
The Kern Council of Governments is still considering whether it will contribute $250,000 to the cause. Moretti said if they do, the city could add an extra crew. For now, the plan is for two crews to clean all of Highways 99, 58 and 178 in one month.
"I've been collecting litter on the freeways for nine years," said Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, who has made it his mission to clean up Bakersfield. "This is a gigantic step. We tried to get engagement, but it's just been slow and coming."
Now that the city has the agency support, Mayor Hall hopes the public gets onboard.
"Now we just have to get the citizens in our community to start building pride in our community by no littering," said Moretti.