Champaign-Urbana is home to the University of Illinois, it is also my amazing Alma Mater.  I can speak from first-hand experience that the homeless problem is huge in CU, but the city is always working to get those back on their feet.  I spent a lot of time with a man who was previously homeless and now dedicates his life to helping the homeless in Champaign-Urbana.  You can learn more about his story here.

So what is Champaign-Urbana doing to help?  They've created a program "CU at Work" that pays homeless people to help clean up around Champaign.  For $10 an hour workers help to clean up and 'beautify' the campus town.  The News Gazette explains,

CU at Work participants, accompanied by a truck packed with tools, are paid to walk the streets picking up trash for four hours a day. After their work concludes for the day, they receive a meal.

 

Tim Stenger, 62, who has been participating in CU at Work since it began in August, said he’s hooked.

 

He said he’d do it just for the Jimmy John’s sandwich at the end of the shift — or even for free.

Could this type of program work well in Rockford?  I think it's an amazing idea and could help in any city.

H/T News Gazette