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Amsterdam Alcoholics Work for Beer in New Program Aimed at Quelling Public Nuisance

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
January 17, 2014|9:19 am

A new program in Amsterdam is taking the social experiment to another level by offering beer in exchange for work for some of the city's alcoholics.

The new program was created in response to local residents complaints regarding the congregation of disruptive alcoholics in some of the city's parks.

The creators of the program, Rainbow Group Foundation, is a small non-profit came up with the idea after city officials were unable to appease local residents.

"The Rainbow group tries to make it as easy as possible (for alcoholics) to live their lives and that they make as little as possible nuisances to the environment they are living in," local clinic worker Floor van Bakkum told AP. "I think it is good that they are doing this."

For their efforts the workers receive 10 euros (around $13) and five cans of beer. The group of men are split in to two groups of about 10 and each group works three days a week. Days start at around 9:00 a.m. and end at around 3:30 p.m. with breakfast, lunch and beers provided.

"This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam's Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women," Gerrie Holterman, who heads the Rainbow Foundation project, told AFP.

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"The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park," Holterman added.

The new program is funded by a combination money from the Dutch state and donations.

"I think I can speak for the group and say that if they didn't give us beers then we wouldn't come," said Frank, one of the men in the program. "We need alcohol to function, that's the disadvantage of chronic alcoholism," he added.

Creators of the program contend that it gives the men a job and keeps them from becoming a public nuisance.

"They're no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day … heroin addicts can go to shooting galleries, so why shouldn't we also give people beer?" Holterman added.

 

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