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'Cash for Trash' is back | Program paying homeless to pick up trash in downtown San Diego

Pays $2 for every bag of trash collected. Lucky Duck Foundation bringing back program after seeing pilot program's success.

SAN DIEGO — An initiative paying the homeless to pick up trash is back in downtown San Diego. Cash for Trash pays people $2 for every bag of trash collected.

"Gives folks a reason to wake up, opportunity to contribute to the cleanliness and overall environment around their surroundings," said Drew Moser, the Executive Director for the Lucky Duck Foundation.

Moser said the foundation decided to bring Cash for Trash back after seeing the pilot program's success. 

Participants picked up more than 44 tons of trash in a four-month period. The initial program gained traction fast and even gained national attention. 

"Some may say this doesn't sound like a lot of money but it goes a long way. I can get an MTS pass or buy some Band-Aids or cover copays for prescription medications," Moser said.

The concept is even boosting morale within the homeless community.

"It gave folks a common enemy. That common enemy was the trash. They had that to sort of rally around. You'll see some just improved attitudes, demeanors and behaviors," he said.

Cash for Trash is meeting every Monday and Thursday around 8 a.m. at 16th and Commercial Streets downtown until at least the end of the year. 

Moser said Lucky Duck Foundation is, "Pleased to continue this program while continuing to advocate for and fund immediately available beds so that people can find a bright and safe pathway off the street."

WATCH RELATED: Bill Walton blasts Mayor Gloria over homeless situation in Balboa Park (September 2022)

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