The Mayor Of Albuquerque Saw A Homeless Man With A "Will Work" Sign, And It Gave Him This Idea

By Editorial Staff in Feel Good On 18th October 2015

#1 Albuqurque's Mayor had a brilliant idea after seeing a homeless man with a sign that said "Will Work"

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. Thanks to the Mayor's great idea!

#2 Will Work For Food.

The Mayor said, "I was driving one day ... and I see a gentleman standing there with a sign that says: 'Will work,'" Berry told Upworthy. "So we decided to take the program to the next level."

The idea was to help those in need, not punish them.

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#3 Together with the local homeless shelter he created 'There's A Better Way' Foundation.

Participants in Albuquerque's "There's a Better Way" initiative working on a city beautification project.

Two days a week, an employee of a local homeless services organization drives a van around the city and asks homeless people if they want to work for the day.

#4 Those who say "yes" to the job offer work five-and-a-half hour shifts for $9/hour.

They have a bus that travels around the city in places where homeless people stay and ask them if they want to earn money and food. "If they say yes, they hop in the van. We've already got a lunch for them, ready to go," Will Cole, the van driver, told Upworthy.

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#5 Connecting those less fortunate with the community.

The program, called "There's a Better Way," was started by Berry's administration to connect homeless people with employment, substance abuse, mental health, and housing services, and it recently 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 said.

#6 The workers to odd jobs around the city like pulling weeds, painting, and even picking up traash.

"We want to give the dignity of work for a day," Berry said. "The dignity of a day's work for a day's pay is a very good thing. It helps people stabilize, it helps them with their self-confidence, and it helps them get back on their feet."

The work often includes pulling weeds, picking up trash, or engaging in other beautification projects around the city. According to Mayor Berry, out of every 12-14 people Cole asks, 10 say yes to the gig.

#7 St. Martin's Shelter

At the end of their day, Cole's van drops the workers off at St. Martin's Hospitality Center where they have access to food, shelter, and other services if they choose.

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#8 The city "workers" are getting shelter and a full meal after each shift in addition to their city pay.

Although it's only 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.

#9 The city's new 311 sign, urging homeless residents to seek help and community members to reach out.

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 help or asking to be helped.

#10 One of the biggest successes of the program has been humanizing a group of people who often don't get a fair shake.

"It's frustrating when you're sitting in your car and somebody's trying to get money from you, but they're human beings," Palmer said. "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 we can end homelessness."