Homeless given jobs as vendors during SXSW

AUSTIN, TX (CNN) -- Thousands of people are in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Festival. Local organizations are helping the homeless find jobs by getting involved with the event.

out on the streets during SXSW you might see vendors with a very special cause. Robert Burton said, "First of all we are out there building relationships we are selling some sandals, we are selling some snacks and candy and ice cream."

Burton is formally homeless. Over the past three years he's worked with vendors, connected by Mobile Loaves and Fishes. He says working the places they've found for him, he's been able to connect with people that would give a job.

Casey Jennings is also working trying to build his future. He said, "I have been homeless off and on for many year s this is hard. I don't really have support of family like a lot of people do."

The money he makes this week, he hopes to use to buy equipment for a battery-powered lawn service company. He said, "It's going to be 'Clean Green Lawn Team' is the name of it."

Jennings is selling snacks. He said, "I'm still camping out, I don't stay really on the streets, I have a camp set out and I sneak off into the woods and get in my camp which I live as comfortably as I can."

The social organization Mobile Loaves and Fishes has connected these workers with the opportunity. Nat Schlueter is a director and he said, "What we are trying to do today is released opportunity for our homeless brothers and sisters to earn a dignified income during SXSW."

A new collaborator with mobile loaves and fishes this year is Flip 3; the idea is buy one, help three. One homeless person paints the flip flop, another packages it and a third pedals the art.


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