Amsterdam Pays Alcoholics in Beer to Clean up the Streets

Alcoholics Paid in Beer

A new program has been launched in Amsterdam where troublesome alcoholics are paid in beer to clean the streets. Only in Amsterdam…

The special “beer for cleanup” program, funded by the Dutch state and donations, is designed to keep the alcoholics occupied and slightly buzzed so they don’t cause any disruptions or start any fights. For a day’s work, the alcoholics receive 10 euros, a half-packet of rolling tobacco and five cans of beer: two to start the day, two at lunch and one for after work. So much for AA…

“This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women,” said Gerrie Holterman, who heads the Rainbow Foundation project.

“The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park.”

“Heroin addicts can go to shooting galleries, so why shouldn’t we also give people beer?”

The beer consumption is monitored – unless Gerrie Holterman gets called away – then it’s honour system all the way. Each alcoholic is responsible for recording how much beer they’ve consumed. Overall, the group, who volunteer to work three days a week from 9am to 3:30pm, are pretty happy with the beer setup.

One 45-year-old alcoholic, named Frank, says:

“I think I can speak for the group and say that if they didn’t give us beers then we wouldn’t come. … We need alcohol to function.”

Others enjoy the structure and satisfaction the job brings.

“We also feel satisfied, a job well done, contributing to society despite the fact that we drink,” Vincent, a former baker, said.

“It gives our lives some structure,” said another alcoholic.

Interesting approach. Alcoholics need alcohol and streets need to be cleaned – so why not? And if Amsterdam can get their alcoholics to clean the streets, just think of what we can do with the crackheads. We can get them to run Toronto!  Or run for congress in Florida! The possibilities are endless!

Via: AFP

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