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February 27, 2005
New York City program helps homeless people climb the ladder back up
Forty-year old Paul Hernandez spends his days overturning New York City trash cans for a living.

In some ways, it's just what he used to do when he was homeless. But since he entered a program called Ready, Willing and Able, there's a world of difference.

Some two-thousand men have come through the program. In Hernandez' case, he gets a dormitory bed in a Harlem shelter, three meals a day and seven dollars an hour to empty trash cans.

And though he's working, Hernandez has strong memories of being down and out.

The isolation was the worst, he says.

Begging on the street, he says, you might get money. But the donor's attitude is, "please don't touch me. Touch the dollar."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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