Sunday, January 12, 2014

Will Work for Beer?

The Netherlands pays its drunks with beer.
The latest Dutch social experiment is not so dramatic, but it’s something American cities might want to think about. In Amsterdam, alcoholic street people are doing public service work and getting paid each day, in part, with cans of beer. They’re cleaning playgrounds, picking up trash, and then kicking back with a cold one. As a result not only are the public spaces getting tidier, the people in the program are starting to clean up their acts in a city where drunken indigents are known for generating a lot of petty crime and random violence.

The initiative was started in May 2012 by Rainbow, a charity partly funded by the Amsterdam city council. It covers all the major parks in the city, and it fits into the broader concept of “harm reduction” that has driven several innovative policies over the years.


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