D.C. 'Sweat Equity' program to help needy residents

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some needy District of Columbia residents are about to start renovating apartment buildings that could end up serving as their new homes.

A dozen homeless or formerly homeless people will go to work Monday on two dilapidated buildings in Southeast Washington. They've been trained in construction work through a pilot program called "Sweat Equity."

The program is intended to help recipients of district welfare benefits gain job skills. Reggie Sanders, a spokesman for the Department of Human Services, says the participants have received "comprehensive training in the construction trade." Two who've received the training have already found jobs.

The renovation process is expected to last about a year. Each building has 12 units, meaning each participant will have the option to move in if he or she chooses.