Project Street

I thought it would be possible to significantly help L.A. County’s unemployed population by paying them to beautify the region. They could clean streets, do some painting and do some gardening. They would also get financial planning instruction and job application tips as a groups. Showing that they were committed to hard work by participating in the program would boost their resumes. Turns out even paying half of them $20 a week for a month would be very expensive.

My plan was to raise revenues by adding a $25 property tax surcharge to each commercial and residential parcel in L.A. County that falls above the median property affordability index (i.e. like something along these lines).

A look at the numbers:

# of people unemployed in L.A. County: 790,000

# of parcels in L.A. County above index: 1.3 million (50 percent of total)

Overhead COSTS

5 staff members x 75,000 = 375,000

2 Financial coaches x 50,000 = 100,000

Other administrative = 25,000

Total overhead: 500,00


$25 surcharge per parcel

$32.5 million generated


50% eligible sign-up

Leaves $100 per person / 5 weeks = $20 / week

You can apparently buy enough groceries to survive for a week with $20. But overall, I thought the idea would generate a whole lot more.

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