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Will Work for Pizza Is this entrepreneur's ad campaign helping homeless people&#151or exploiting them?

By Geoff Williams

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you live in Portland, Oregon, you've probably seen them:homeless people with signs that read, "Pizza Schmizza paid meto hold this sign instead of asking for money." EntrepreneurAndre Jehan, 41, pays those homeless people in slices and soda andsometimes a couple of bucks. Homeless advocates are aghast. DonaldWhitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for theHomeless, says Jehan is "exploiting" the homeless, and"any person who works a job in America should get at leastminimum wage . . . or better, a living wage. The signs aredegrading." Not surprisingly, Jehan sees it differently.

How did this start?

Andre Jehan: I was sittingon the freeway, watching some homeless people, and I thought, theremust be something they could do to earn money- the firstthing that jumped out was they could hold a sign. The arrangementis good for me and for them. Everybody wins. And I make sure theydon't feel embarrassed and exploited. They look forward to itand say it's been a positive experience.

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