During our initial episodes of the new "Go Public" podcast, we focused in large part on technology-driven startups and entrepreneurs working to solve civic problems. This time, we take a decidedly low-tech turn by looking at a novel campaign to reduce panhandling in Albuquerque, N.M.
It all started when one panhandler’s cardboard sign -- which read "Want a job" -- caught the eye of then-Mayor Richard Berry.
He decided to take the man at his word by founding what the city calls "There’s A Better Way," a program that offers panhandlers day jobs and connects them with housing, employment and mental health services.
There is no app for that.
The city spruced up an unused, decade-old van to visit popular panhandling locations twice a week with offers to work on beautification projects in the city.