Odd jobs program in Summerland now operating as a social enterprise

Odd jobs program in Summerland now operating as a social enterprise

This year the program will provide work for people receiving disability support

An odd jobs program, operated in connection with the Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre, has gone through some changes for this year.

Program coordinator Lacey Meyers said the odd jobs program, which hires people who have barriers to full-time employment, is now in its fourth year.

Initially, it had been set up to connect residents with people providing casual labour.

This year, it is operating as a social enterprise, providing work for people receiving disability support.

Those on disability assistance receive $1,200 a month, which is not quite enough to meet living expenses in Summerland, she said.

However, those on disability may earn up to $1,000 a month before their disability payments are reduced.

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She added that while the previous program, connecting workers with residents, had helped some on disability, others were at a disadvantage since they did not have transportation to job sites or cell phones to connect with employers.

“We wanted to break down some of the barriers,” Meyers said.

The program was restructured with help from James Cunningham of Pace in Penticton.

That jobs service has been in operation for around 15 years.

Meyers said Cunningham donated tools, which are used by the program.

In addition, the Summerland Rental Centre serviced the odd jobs program tools at no cost, she said.

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Under the restructured program, which began on June 1, employees are paid a minimum of $15 an hour for a casual labourer, or $35 an hour for a lawn maintenance crew consisting of Meyers and one employee.

Other projects include dump loads, moves and orchard work.

The workers are hired for shifts of five to six hours, since some are not able to work full days, Meyers said.

Those interested in hiring a labourer or a crew, or donating tools and equipment to the program, are asked to call 250-488-8371, or email oddjobs@summerlandfoodbank.org.

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