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INDIANAPOLIS–Panhandlers in Indianapolis will soon be getting jobs cleaning up the city. 

The mayor’s office says it is finalizing a contract with Keys to Work to get panhandlers those jobs. If everything stays on track, that program is set to start on Monday.

Over the last few years, seeing people begging in the streets, homeless, and staying at places like Wheeler Mission has become more and more common.

“To put it in perspective, last year, I think during the summertime, we averaged 275 guys per night,” William Bumphus said. Bumphus is the Wheeler Mission Emergency Shelter Services for Men Director. “The year prior to that averaged 179 people per night.”

But to many walking by these people, it’s something typically ignored.

“Growing up around here, I’ve just become accustomed to it,” Hannah Wilson said. “It never really bothers me. They’re never too aggressive with us I don’t think.”

“I mean, I think it’s kind of a first issue, kind of with our system, and just society in general to kind of take minor problems and ignore them until they become major problems,” Rusty Shank said.

“I like to try and help them out,” Chris Pappas said. “You know, we got a lot of money for other things like cops sitting around here but not enough to help them out.”

But representatives with the City of Indianapolis say they do see it as a major problem and one they want to fix.

The latest solution grants money toward mental health and drug treatment. It also gives homeless people and panhandlers the chance to have a cleaning job.

“Helping people, getting people who are in need jobs, people who need resources, people who need extra money, right?” Bumphus said. “People who need money just to help with their daily living expenses and daily things, I think it will be great for those people.”

But, not every homeless person or panhandler has an issue revolving around a job or income.

“What we’ve come to find out is that everybody has their different, their own personal story as to what led them here,” Bumphus said. “And they also have their own personal plan as to what’s going to get them out of here.”

The pilot program for the new Keys to Work jobs will run through September, and will try to set them up with long-term employment.

Story by Travis Robinson