When Richard J. Berry, the mayor of Albuquerque, saw a man on a street corner holding a cardboard sign that read “Want a job,” he decided to take him (and others in his situation) up on it.
He and his staff started a citywide initiative to help the homeless by giving them day jobs and a place to sleep — and the results were incredible.
Handing out money to pan-handlers (which oft-times is not spent replenishing the body but rather on drug/alcohol addictions) is not resolving the root issue.
If you have something to do or need people to do something – it is a perfect solution.
We ask these panhandlers if they’d like a days work rather than panhandling for the day.
And if you’re wondering if they really mean it, almost everybody we ask takes up the job we offer them for the day. <—-NEED A DRIVER FOR THIS.
You also need a great non-profit organization that provides (food.housing. counseling.). They provide agility. <———–THE HAVEN IS WHAT THIS FULFILLS.
We pay our panhandlers $9/hr.
We cleaned up trash, weeds, and litter in the city (the panhandlers jobs they did).
It takes resources, but it doesn’t take much. We started with:
–an old van
–a driver for the van
–a great local non-profit
We also had to have community trust (built up in years prior).
Housing people is 31.6% cheaper than keeping them homeless.
We’ve saved over $5,000,000 while housing over 600 people. So we had that community trust.
We had to get people to understand that when they hand those $5 out the window – they might be minimizing their opportunity to help those people in need (that they’re handing the $5 to on the street).
We ask the homeless people
Where’s he from?
How did he get here?
How can we help him?
We’ve reduced unsheltered homelessness in our city by 80% in the last year.
We’ve been able to reduce the chronic homelessness in our city by 40%.
And we’ve literally eliminated veterans homelessness in our city by being intentional.
Chicago, Denver, Dallas, are now starting to implement programs where they bring the DIGNITY OF EMPLOYMENT (work) to the equation.
Homelessness is not separate from domestic violence, of illness, or substance addiction — that’s not to say all homelessness people experience these problems — but every one of these problems is connected to homelessness.
We need to change the way we do business —- if we believe a system is a group of integrated parts forming a complex whole – then there is no health care system or mental health care system or homeless service delivery system.
There are health care programs and providers! Mental health care programs and providers! Homeless service programs and providers! But integrated on a large consistent scale across the country? IT DOESN’T EXIST.
Well by now we should all be pretty discouraged and depressed. A decade of work by smart educated people spending billions of dollars without great results.