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There's a Better Way

View information about the program "There's a Better Way."

Want to Help?

Donations to the program help the issue of panhandling in Albuquerque.

The There's a Better Way campaign gives panhandlers a chance at a change in life and provides caring members of our community with a better way to donate their money.

Video: There's a Better Way

About 'There's a Better Way'

Begun in 2015, Albuquerque's innovative "There's a Better Way" program addresses four main needs:

  1. Give people dignity in work
  2. Connect individuals with services
  3. Collective Impact to end panhandling
  4. Help the Community to understand "There's a Better Way"

Program Success: By the Numbers


Square image of the Need Shelter? Call 311 sign.

'Call 311' Signs Posted - 47

Jobs & Work

Square image of workers hired through the There's a Better Way program.

  • Day Jobs Given - 3,859
  • Connected with Employment Services Hospitality Center for additional work - 402 people
  • Blocks Cleaned - 676
  • Litter Removed - 196,711 pounds

Service Connections

Square image of Mayor Richard J. Berry meeting with workers hired throught the There's a Better Way program.

  • Received Housing - 21 people
  • Engaged with Mental Health or Substance Abuse Service - 211 clients

Calls & Donations

Square image of the van for the There's a Better Way program.

  • Assistance Calls to 311 - 19,353
  • Community Donations to Program - $63,807

Source: Office of Mayor Richard J. Berry. Figures through Oct. 5, 2017.

Program History

The "There's a Better Way" program started with an idea about reaching out to panhandlers.

Phase I: Signs, Services & Donations

In June 2015, the City of Albuquerque posted 15 signs at various intersections were panhandlers were known to stand. The signs urged people in need of food or shelter to call the City's 311 service.

The sign also lists the website for donations. Anyone who wants to help the needy can make donations through the website to support the community through the following efforts:

  • The Community Fund
  • Feed the Hungry
  • Shelter the Homeless
  • Support a Day's Wages for Someone in Need of Work

Donations Collected now have the potential to have a Collective Impact.

For example, a driver could hand $5 out the window to a panhandler and help them purchase one meal – or they could donate $5 to Roadrunner Food Bank and feed 20 people.

Serving as the program's fiscal agent, the United Way of Central New Mexico charges no administrative costs for the program.

Phase II: A Van

In September 2015, the City of Albuquerque found a van in the City's motor pool, wrapped it in the "There's a Better Way" graphics, and launched the "There's a Better Way" van with St. Martin's Hospitality Center.

With a initial budget of $50,000, the City's Solid Waste Department is able to drive to areas frequented by panhandlers and offer them day labor, such as landscape beautification and garbage removal.

Pay for the work is $9 a hour.

After their work day is complete, passengers are transported back to St. Martin's to be connected with emergency shelter to house them overnight as needed.

In fiscal year 2017, the City has budgeted $181,000 for the program's continued success.

Map: Other Communities

Other communities throughout the United States has adopted similar programs to Albuquerque's "There's a Better Way."

In the News: Success

Efforts in Albuquerque to address panhandling have received national news coverage.

Here is a sample of articles written about There's a Better Way: