Albuquerque, Revising Approach Toward the Homeless, Offers Them Jobs

NEW YORK TIMES: …Donning gloves and fluorescent vests, they raked a piece of messy ground by some railroad tracks on the edge of downtown, cleaning up residues of lives that may well have been their own: a soiled burgundy blanket, two Bibles soaked by melting snow, a trail of crushed cans of Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor.

For participants, the toil paid off decently: $9 an hour and a lunch of sandwiches, chips and granola bars, enjoyed in a park. For the city, it represented a policy shift toward compassion and utility.

“It’s about the dignity of work, which is kind of a hard thing to put a metric on, or a matrix,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said. “If we can get your confidence up a little, get a few dollars in your pocket, get you stabilized to the point where you want to reach out for services, whether the mental health services or substance abuse services — that’s the upward spiral that I’m looking for.”… (more)

EDITOR: This informative and challenging article is found today on the “National” page, A20. As we have often noted, it is what is inside the Times and not the front page (or even the editorial pages) that is of most importance.

A similar program could be started in Lancaster City and County. We hope that LNP will pick up this subject in a future editorial.

If not, we will.

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Updated: December 8, 2015 — 10:31 am