Hundreds of homeless people will be put to work at $12.50 a week cleaning the shelters and parks they call home, city officials announced.
Mayor Edward I. Koch said two-thirds of New York's shelter residents are physically or mentally incapable of working, but one-third are "very husky guys who can work."
"These are the people where we hope to have the largest impact," Koch said.
Koch spoke at his City Hall office, where he was joined by officials of the Human Resources Administration.
New York sheltered 4,152 men and 645 women Sunday night.
Robert Trobe, the deputy commissioner of the Human Resources Administration, said the work program has been put in place for men at two shelters and at one shelter for women in Manhattan.
Trobe said he hoped that up to 1,000 homeless people would be in the work program by spring and that most of the city's 16 shelters will have the program within a year.
He said it was not clear whether fewer people would use the shelters if they knew they had to work.
Residents physically and mentally capable of work, but who refuse to join the program, will be transferred to another shelter.