SKOWHEGAN – Seven men from the homeless shelter at Trinity Evangelical Free Church will be working for the town soon in a muscle-for-money exchange to pay off the shelter’s one-time sewer hookup fee.

The men, all residents of the shelter on McClellan Street, will work for the equivalent of $7.50 per hour until the shelter’s $5,000 fee is paid, Town Manager John Doucette Jr. said Friday.

The men will be assigned to the town’s transfer station, Highway Department and Recreation Center. Chores will include maintenance and cleanup duties, mechanical work and getting ready for winter.

“When they initially came in they had 24 people scheduled to be in that shelter and we based the fee on 24 people,” Doucette said. “Since then, they now are going to have an occupancy of 45 males at the shelter.”

Doucette said a payment plan had been set up with the church’s pastor, Richard Berry, for $100 a month. Later, with expansion at the shelter, the payment plan increased, he said.

The shelter is tax exempt because it is affiliated with a church, and relies on donations to operate, he said.

“Pastor Berry came in and said they couldn’t afford that,” Doucette said. “And looking at what they had for assets that could help them, we talked to him about the possibility of using some of his manpower to take care of some of the projects we have in town.”

Code Enforcement Officer Randy Gray said the agreement is a good example of doing more with less during tight economic times.

There will be no cash exchanged for the work, he said.

The fee should be paid in full in about three weeks, they said. Background checks are done on all the men who register to live at the shelter.

Doucette said if the men do a good job, he would be willing to offer letters of recommendation for future employment.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Doug Harlow can be reached at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected]