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A Better Way Around the Cardboard Sign Problem

Albuquerque, N.M., embarked on a novel campaign to reduce panhandling. Has it worked?

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.  

On this episode, we examine the program's history and track record. Listen below and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher so you can take it with you.



Paul W. Taylor is the Executive Editor at e.Republic and of its flagship titles - Governing and Government Technology. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @pwtaylor.
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