While other cities try to regulate or ban panhandlers, Albuquerque, N.M., offers them an income and social services for the day. Twice a week, a city van rolls through downtown Albuquerque, N.M., stopping at popular panhandling locations, Governing magazine reports. The driver asks panhandlers if they want a day job. Work pays $9 an hour, higher than the state’s $7.50 minimum wage. In May, the city started posting signs at intersections with a 311 phone number and a website. Panhandlers can call to connect with services. Motorists can visit the website to donate to a local shelter, food bank or an employment fund to pay panhandlers’ wages.
At the end of the day the van drops the day laborers off at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, a nonprofit that connects people with housing, employment and mental health services.
Albuquerque calls its initiative A Better Way. I agree.