Commend City for Hiring Homeless to Clean Freeways


Target: Sal Moretti, City of Bakersfield Solid Waste Division Superintendent

Goal: Commend the decision to hire homeless people to clean up litter along freeways

The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, is generally responsible for the maintanence and upkeep of California Freeways. These jobs are typically relegated to prisoners, due to low costs in labor. Now, however, there have been shifts in the distribution of prisoners in various counties due to California’s prison realignment, and the city of Bakersfield has seen the immediate effects on its roadways.

Bakersfield Solid Waste Division Superintendent Sal Moretti stated, “Bakersfield was getting a bad name, and it wasn’t under our control.” Moretti tried to find a different solution, and turned to the local homeless population. He went to the clients of local nonprofit homeless shelters. Caltrans agreed to pay some of the homeless that are now employed, provided that the cost of employment didn’t surpass what they paid prisoners. While this isn’t ideal it is certainly a step in the right direction, and a viable support system for the homeless population. Companies can now sponsor a mile of highway for $6,700, which will help the program gain momentum and continue.

Moretti has come up with a positive way to clean up his city, and a way to help the homeless population find employment. Sign this petition to show your support for Moretti’s program, and hope that other counties and cities will follow suit.


Dear Mr. Moretti,

Every city has issues with a number of common things, two of them being litter and the homeless population. While many cities, such as Tampa, Florida, have effectively criminalized homelessness, you have come up with a much brighter solution to an ever growing problem. You started employing the homeless to pick up litter along highways, essentially killing two birds with one stone.

I would like to commend your efforts, and show my support for the programs you have put in place. This is a tremendous step in the right direction for the issue of homelessness, and I hope that other cities and counties will adopt your program rather than circumvent the issue of  homelessness by imprisoning them, like Tampa has been.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Zita Bodonyi via Flickr

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