In America, alcoholics go to AA. In Amsterdam, they clean the streets and get paid in beer.
The city famous for bicycles, hookers and weed has a program that gives alcoholics five cans of beer to clean the streets, according to the Times Live. The street cleaners — referred to collectively in the article as "the alcoholics" — get a couple of cans in the morning, two for lunch and a final one at the end of the day. They also get 10 Euros and half a pack of cigarettes.
The program is funded by the government and donations and participants have to work three days a week.
Now, at first glance this sounds to me like a terrible, demeaning way to get the streets cleaned. After all, these guys are working for something like 3 Euros an hour, some of which is paid in the form of the very thing causing their problem.
But here’s the rationale:
• "The alcoholics" were causing problems in a local park and cleaning the streets gives them something to do;
• There is a supervisor on hand who "carefully notes each person’s beer consumption";
• At least some of "the alcoholics" seem to like the program and feel it helps them;
• The program apparently works, with the problems in the park having been solved.
The article ultimately dubs the program "an imaginative approach." So perhaps this is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that could fix other troubled parks?
— Jim Dalrymple II
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