Other cities looking to success of Albuquerque's panhandler program | KOB 4
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Other cities looking to success of Albuquerque's panhandler program

Megan Abundis
March 18, 2019 06:35 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A program that puts panhandlers to work in Albuquerque has become a national model.

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“There’s a Better Way” was started more than three years ago under the Berry administration.

The panhandlers work on city and county projects, clearing out brush and keeping things clean.

The panhandlers are paid $50 for a five-hour shift.

“Here, you're actually doing something, you are actually using your muscles and getting out and accomplishing something,” said a man who participates in the program. “When one has to go to panhandling there's no work involved in it."

The program has grown from helping 12 people a week to 100 people per week.

The success of the program has gotten attention from across the country.

“We've had 25-27 other cities come and they try to replicate our program," said William Cole who drives the van that picks up the panhandlers.

The program also provides the workers with meals, access to shelter and mental health services.

According to the city, from Sept. 3 2015, to Feb. 25 2019, 2,018 people have participated in the program, totaling 9,323 jobs provided to panhandlers.

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Megan Abundis

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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