Editorial: There’s a Better Way to address panhandling problems

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The headline of a recent Washington Post article is straightforward:

“This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working.”

The article describes the efforts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mayor Richard Berry to reduce homelessness and panhandling.

Since September 2015, Berry’s “There’s a Better Way” program has paid panhandlers to help  beautify the city.

According to the Post, “Berry was driving around Albuquerque last year when he saw a man on a street corner holding a sign that read: ‘Want a Job. Anything Helps.’

“Seeing that sign gave Berry an idea. Instead of asking them, many of whom feel dispirited, to go out looking for work, the city could bring the work to them.”

There’s a Better Way video

There’s a Better Way – Albuquerque, NM from City of Albuquerque on Vimeo.

Berry kickstarted the program with $50,000 in city funds and found a willing partner in St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, the city’s largest provider of services to the homeless.

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