New Program Allows Homeless to Turn Their Lives Around While Cleaning Streets in Modesto

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MODESTO — A recently launched program in Modesto aims to get more homeless people off the streets — and clean up parts of the city.

Along littered roadways in Modesto is where Dawn Dominguez says she hit rock bottom.

“My husband, he’s an ex-heroin addict. Me, I did meth,” Dominguez said.

But, she’s confident she’s about to turn the page of her life’s story.

“We got clean on the streets, got married on the streets, got a vehicle on the streets and now we’re cleaning up the streets,” Dominguez said.

She is now part of the newly launched Downtown Streets Team in Modesto.

Dominguez is one of 17 homeless, or at-risk of being homeless, people who volunteer four hours of their day to beautify parts of Modesto.

“To help people kind of get back onto their feet, get onto a schedule, rebuild soft skills and confidence so that they can transition into other opportunities for housing and employment,” Greg Pensinger explained.

Pensinger, the Downtown Streets Team project manager,said the program also encourages team members to build a community so they can reach their goals together.

“You say, work it, girl! See, you have fun doing this, too! It’s great!,” Downtown Streets Team member Linda Davenport said.

Pensinger said the crew is made up of volunteers and they are given a stipend of $20 a day that goes towards food and other basic needs such as shelter.

Dominguez said she and her husband are now sober and that this experience will help her get to the next chapter.

“Me and my husband, we’re about to tell our success story,” Dominguez said. “We’re like right around the corner.”

Pensinger said the program plans to add ten more members to their team.

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