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'Same-day pay' program to expand, saturating city with art, jobs

July 30, 2019, Pat Loeb - KYW Newsradio

In April, Mural Arts Philadelphia began offering 10 jobs a day to any takers with payment made at the end of that day's shift. So many people lined up they had to use a lottery system to award the jobs.

On Tuesday, many of those employed by the program joined the city and SEPTA officials to cut the ribbon on the mural they made at Suburban Station.

The mural of colorful flowers on a pastel blue background brightens a formerly dank hallway, but what it's done for the artists who painted it is even more transformative.

"This program has really changed my life," said Michael Belo, who was unemployed when he started lining up in LOVE Park every morning for a shot at one of the ten jobs awarded by lottery.

The sixth time his number got picked, he happened to meet Mural Arts director Jane Golden and ended up getting hired.

"Now I'm able to work with the same people I was sleeping outside with and homeless with," he said.

Several cities have adopted the same-day pay program, but Golden thinks Philadelphia's is more successful.

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