The “water boys” saga continues.
The Atlanta City Council considered legislation Monday about a feasibility study for creating a new water bottling and distribution municipal enterprise for the city of Atlanta.
It passed unanimously on full council meeting.
“He wants his own money to have in his pocket to spend, to buy things with, not only that, he helps around the house with the money he brings in,” said one parent, Loretha Peoples.
Some parents, whose children sell water on street corners, feel they’re just trying to find a positive outlet as young men.
“They’re not out here selling drugs, they’re not in gangs, they’re not robbing anybody, they’re not harming anybody,” Peoples added.
Monday’s virtual city council meeting addressed finding a resolution that helps create new revenue streams and establish a workforce development program aimed at creating middle-wage jobs.
“This legislation will look at a workforce development component to help put some of the water boys to work,” said Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown, who represents District 3.
Brown, who introduced this legislation, said generational poverty has gone unaddressed in this city for decades, and he believes putting the water boys back to work will help this systemic problem.
“Some have done some things that have been extremely unfortunate in the city, that we don’t condone, that have scared some residents, so if we can find a way to kind of meet in the middle, and show them we appreciate their entrepreneurial spirit,” Councilmember Brown said.
Kacey Venning, the Executive Director of Helping Empower Youth, said their nonprofit has also stepped in to help mentor these young men, and said the time is now to figure out a solution.
“Some of these young people really have to make money every single day, so we needed to find an alternative, versus just saying stop doing it,” added Venning.
The goal is to offer these boys jobs and opportunities, while helping the city generate revenue.