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Homeless Earn Cash During South By Southwest

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:15 PM CDT

Mobile Loaves & Fishes in Austin launched its “Street Treats” program Sunday. It is a program to give the homeless population an opportunity to make money during South-by-Southwest.

Robert Burton has been homeless for 11 years and is trying to get back on his feet. Through the program he is selling Blue Bell ice cream for $1.

Burton said it is a chance to trade in a cardboard sign and make a dignified living.

"You can be out panhandling and all that kind of stuff, but it's kind of degrading, and it's really depressing and frustrating," Burton said.

Each day a homeless vendor checks out an inventory of snacks from Mobile Loaves & Fishes. Each vendor will have to re-pay the non-profit for the wholesale cost of the items, but will get to keep 100 percent of the profits and tips.

Nate Schlueter with Mobile Loaves & Fishes said the program is a way to help get the homeless off their feet and give them an opportunity to get involved in the community.

"They can be their own mini business owner. It's a way for them to participate in our city, and it's a way for us to participate in the renewal of our city," Schlueter said. "There is an exchange happening. There's an exchange of money, there's an exchange of product, and an exchange of smiles. That's something you just don't see on the corner with a cardboard sign."

Schlueter said each individual has an opportunity to make up to $30 an hour throughout the festival.

By Cassie Gallo

Homeless Earn Cash During South By Southwest

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