Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 28 November |
Saint of the Day: Pope St. Gregory III

'It makes you human again': Albuquerque's remarkable outreach to the homeless

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/01/17

This is inspiring: the story of how one city is reaching out to help the homeless and panhandlers by meeting them where they are—on street corners, under bridges, in parks—and offering them city jobs that give them a little money and, more importantly, dignity. The PBS video above shows how it works.

Last year, Politicohad this profile:

Since the program began…more than 400 different panhandlers have taken the offer, and many have used it as a stepping stone to get permanent work, housing or treatment for mental health or substance abuse problems. It’s the brainchild of the city’s two-term Republican mayor, Richard J. Berry, who came up with the idea in the summer of 2015 after rolling down his window to talk to a man standing on a corner with a sign saying “Want a Job. Anything Helps.” Instead of ticketing panhandlers, Berry thought, why not try to literally bring jobs to them, right at the curb where they’re standing, and offer them services too while they’re at it? “I’m from Nebraska and my grandparents taught me about the dignity of work, and if you give that to them, they may be more likely to invest in themselves,” says Berry. “They’re much more likely to say ‘Somebody believed in me today’ and so much more likely to accept the services.”

The van program has earned national media attention, and dozens of cities are looking into duplicating it, but it’s just one part of an array of interlocking initiatives that in just five years has turned the largest city in one of the nation’s poorest states into a national leader in the effort to address homelessness—a counterpoint to San Francisco, a wealthy city that’s spent large amounts to deal with a homelessness crisis 

with little to show for it . What makes Albuquerque’s holistic approach so attractive to other urban executives is how it marries liberal and conservative principles—no questions-asked charity and an old-fashioned work ethic. The city is putting the people most at risk of dying on the streets into homes straightaway, which has saved dozens of lives and has realized net savings to the taxpayer of more than $2 million a year.

Read more. 

And check out the PBS Newshour video above.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
See More