Amsterdam Officials Enabling Those in Need

by: Mike Miller

For those of you who are my loyal readers, this is the follow-up blog on a program started in Amsterdam where the government pays homeless people to pick up trash. The kicker is that the majority of their pay is in a currency known as beer. Yes, that is the malted-fermented beverage that contains alcohol. And many of these “employees” are known to be chronic alcoholics!

The program, started last year by the Rainbow Foundation, a private but mostly government-funded organization that helps the homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics get back on their feet, is so popular that there is a long waiting list of chronic alcoholics eager to join the beer-fueled cleaning teams. As reported in

One of the project’s most enthusiastic supporters is the district mayor of eastern Amsterdam. As a practicing Muslim who wears a head scarf, she personally disapproves of alcohol but says she believes that alcoholics cannot be just ostracized and told to shape up. It is better, she said, to give them something to do and restrict their drinking to a limited amount of beer with no hard alcohol.

In the program, the workers are paid about a six-pack per day, as well as a pack of smokes and $14.

What do you think about this program? Do you think they should mandate these workers to take a 30 hour alcohol educational class?