Portland, Maine (NEWS CENTER) Portland joins other cities around the nation as it launches a pilot program that pays panhandlers to pick up trash in an effort to keep them off the streets. According to the Portland Press Herald the 36-week initiative started yesterday. Two days a week, staff will take a city van to areas popular with panhandlers to ask them if they would like to earn $10.68 an hour, the city's minimum wage. Up to five people a day can participate. The city will also provide them with breakfast and lunch. City officials say the goal is to connect people with support services to help them enter the workforce permanently. The pilot program is estimated to cost $42,000.