The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, used to ticket people for panhandling. Now they’re trying something new something that’s got a lot of locals excited.
Two days a week, an employee of a local homeless services organisation drives a van around the city and asks homeless people if they want to work for the day.
The program, called “There’s a Better Way, ” was started by Berry’s administration to connect homeless people with job, substance abuse, mental health, and housing services, and it lately expanded to include a program to connect homeless residents with jobs for the day.
“As a mayor, you want to be effective, and you want to do it in a way that’s compassionate. And you also want to do it in a way that really maybe helps people get out of the circumstances that they’re in, ” Berry told.
Those who tell “yes” to the job offer work five-and-a-half hour shifts for$ 9/ hour.
The run often includes pulling weeds, picking up trash, or engaging in other beautification projects around the city. According to Mayor Berry, out of every 12 -1 4 people Cole asks, 10 say yes to the gig.
At the end of their day, Cole’s van falls the workers off at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center where they have access to food, shelter, and other services if they opt.
“This could be anyone of us, ” Vicky Palmer, Associate Executive Director of St. Martin’s, told Upworthy. “There are so many people who are a paycheck away, and to stigmatize someone because they’re homeless without even knowing the reason why, that’s why we’re in the business we’re in.”
Although it’s merely been operational for about a month, the city is hoping to expand the program to five days a week, and hopefully, it will help a lot more people in the process.
Berry credits the community for supporting “There’s a Better Way, ” not only through donations but through taking initiative and reaching out. Since the city linked its homeless services to its 311 help line, over 3,000 people have called 311 offering assistance or asking to be helped.
According to Palmer, one of the biggest success of the program has been humanizing a group of people who often don’t get a fair shake.
“It’s frustrate when you’re sitting in your auto and somebody’s trying to get fund from you, but they’re human being, ” Palmer told. “It’s really hard for us to take that stance because that could be my mother. It could be my brother.”
“I think we have to have that compassion and approach so that it is possible to end homelessness.”
Read more: www.upworthy.com