Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

January 22, 2014

Will work for beer

Alcoholics paid in beer in new Amsterdam program

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The men streaming in and out of a small clubhouse in east Amsterdam could almost be construction workers at the end of a hard day, taking off their orange reflective vests and cracking jokes as they suck down a few Heinekens, waiting for their paychecks.

But it's only noon, the men are alcoholics and the beers themselves are the paycheck.

In a pilot project that has drawn attention in the Netherlands and around the world, the city has teamed up with a charity organization in hopes of improving the neighborhood and possibly improving life for the alcoholics. Not by trying to get them to stop drinking, but instead by offering to fund their habit outright.

Participants are given beer in exchange for light work collecting litter, eating a decent meal, and sticking to their schedule.

"For a lot of politicians it was really difficult to accept, 'So you are giving alcohol?'" Amsterdam East district mayor Fatima Elatik said. "No, I am giving people a sense of perspective, even a sense of belonging. A sense of feeling that they are OK and that we need them and that we validate them and we don't ostracize our people, because these are people that live in our district."

In practice, the men — two groups of 10 — must show up at 9 a.m., three days a week. They start off with two beers, work a morning shift, eat lunch, get two more beers, and then do an afternoon shift before closing out with their last beer. Sometimes there's a bonus beer. Total daily pay package: 19 euros ($25), in a mix of beer, tobacco, a meal, and ten euros cash.

Participants say a lot of that cash also goes to beer.

To understand how this all came to be, it helps to know the background. For years, a group of around 50 rowdy, aging alcoholics had plagued a park in east Amsterdam, annoying other park-goers with noise, litter and occasional harassment.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Wilson 01 Meant to be Lowell Wilson was mesmerized by Becky Alexander’s spunky personality from the moment she asked him to pay club dues. Becky, 17, was the treasurer of Wabash Rural Youth in 1958, and it was 22-year-old Lowell’s first meeting. He was a new agriculture t

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter assures us God is with us We sometimes ask, “Where is God at?” The Answer: God is here and there, inside and outside. God was before the beginning, is here right now and is already in the future. God knows everything and everyone. God can do everything or God can choose to d

    April 19, 2014

  • Dress Coded-6 [Duplicate] Dress coded EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, leggi

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Homes-White Paint-6 [Duplicate] Different shades of white NEW YORK (AP) — So you want to paint a room white. Sounds easy, until you go to the hardware store to buy paint and discover there are dozens of whites to choose from. Many have familiar yet poetic names that conjure up ever-so-slightly different hue

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mom worries about son who set fire to mouse Q: My 18-year-old son and a slightly younger friend recently found some mice and decided to dispose of them. They drowned one and set the other one on fire. When I confronted my son for torturing animals, his response was "They're just mice."

    April 17, 2014

  • Dress Coded [Duplicate] Dress codes: Where should schools set limits? EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, legg

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Fewer pro athletes missing birth of children Tony Perez was on the road with the Cincinnati Reds in 1966 when he got the call that his first child was on the way. There was no discussion about leaving the team to attend Victor's birth, no such thing as paternity leave. "They didn't give you any

    April 16, 2014

  • Exchange Be The Match [Duplicate] Be the match JEFFERSONVILLE (AP) — When Phil Meeks went to the doctor for shortness of breath and a burning in his legs, he expected nothing more than a routine diagnosis. "I was a smoker, so I thought, it's probably my smoking," said Meeks, a 47-year-old Jeffers

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Diet Food Backlash [Duplicate] Diet food backlash NEW YORK (AP) — Obsessing over calories alone has left dieters with an empty feeling. The calorie counting that defined dieting for so long is giving way to other considerations, like the promise of more fiber or natural ingredients. That is chipping

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amish Cook shares Reese's pudding recipe April is here, bringing us warmer temperatures. Monday was nice and warm. We hung all the laundry outside on the lines. By evening all of it was dry. How nice to be able to wash the clothes and put them away the same day. It is laundry day again tod

    April 14, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller