Last month, the City and County of Denver launched a pilot program called Denver Day Works.
It’s aimed at helping people in need help themselves by providing daily job opportunities for the city’s homeless.
For 48-year-old Danny Timms, the program has been a life-changer.
For the past five years, Timms has been homeless. After years of drug abuse, he made the choice to try and turn his life around and decided to relocate from Kansas City to Denver.
After three months of living on the streets, Timms, a self-proclaimed ‘neat freak,’ learned about the Denver Day Works Program while picking up trash in Civic Center Park.
“A few of the cops in the park saw me picking up trash and said ‘hey, you know the Mayor started a program?’ So I approached the director of Parks and Rec and the rest is history. I impressed him and my other supervisors.”
This week, Timms and three other Denver Day Works employees were offered full-time seasonal jobs with the city. Three of the employees will be based in Civic Center Park and the other will be working out of the Centennial Gardens Club.
According to the city, the employees will be tasked with planting trees, cleaning up trash, planting flowers, and general park and playground maintenance.
“It’s a great program and it’s great to see Danny doing good work,” Scott Gilmore, Executive Director of Parks & Planning said. “He’s off the street, he’s on his way to becoming successful and he is giving back to the city that we live in."
Timms said it’s an opportunity he is grateful for, especially heading into the new year.
“I have job. I am so excited. I can go buy a soda or a cheeseburger. That means a lot. A lot. Not everybody can do that. I can do that now,” he said.
Mayor Hancock launched the year-long Denver Day Works pilot program on November 1. The pilot program will end on Oct. 31, 2017.
The pilot is a partnership between Denver Human Services, Denver Parks and Recreation, Denver Public Works, and Denver's Road Home.
The city is also working with the non-profit Bayaud Industries. Some of the workers will be placed in city agencies for the day. Others will be placed with private employers.
The best part? Each day, each program employee will leave with a paycheck.
According to the city, to date, the program has provided 850 hours, which amounts to nearly $11,000 for participants.
The launch of the program comes as Denver faces scrutiny for the way it has handled increasing homelessness in the city.