Jun 19, 2019
Kevin Barber
Wheels of Change
Wheels of Change is a work program for the homeless, that Kevin Barber launched with Alpha Project (a nonprofit (501(c)(3)), and Mayor Faulconer, February 2018. We take homeless individuals on a van to clean up trash downtown and pay them $12/hr. This past year, we have taken 10 homeless individuals out 3 days/week, and have employed over 375 individuals, engaging many in social services and shelter. Together our workers have cleaned up 20 tons of trash! And, unbelievably, 67 cities have visited our program, including LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Canada, etc. with the intent of starting programs like Wheels of Change in their cities. In San Diego, we just announced yesterday that we are expanding the program now to 2 vans, operating 5 days/week. We will be able to employ over 5000 people this coming year. 
    Our homeless love this program because they appreciate the opportunity to work and to be able to contribute to the San Diego community. They feel a sense of purpose and hope that inspires them to move forward, buy a bus pass, seek shelter/social services, go to job interviews and seek employment. Sometimes experiences can change lives. This one does. 
    Financially, the City has committed $250,000 to help fund our program in 2019, and we have raised additional funding privately and from foundations. The Lucky Duck Foundation, Davis Charitable Fund, SDGE, the Danna Foundation, Peter Seidler, Dan Shea, Jack McGrory, and multiple others, have been financial and/or strategic supporters of Wheels of Change at Alpha Project. 
    This current expansion to 100 homeless workers/week is really exciting in our 2nd year of operation. The homeless get work, access to services, help clean our community, and are inspired. It's a win, win win! Thank you San Diego! It takes a village.