Mayor’s Talk on Panhandling Initiative Accepted by TED

Inspirational speech by Albuquerque’s Mayor now available on international platform.

It was announced today that Mayor Richard J. Berry’s must see #TEDxPennAve talk titled “The Dignity of Work” has officially been featured on TED.com. In February, leaders in our nation’s capital had the opportunity to hear Mayor Berry deliver a talk on the City of Albuquerque’s panhandling initiative There’s a Better Way at TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue, a platform where several of the world’s most innovative thinkers and doers share their groundbreaking ideas.

Mayor Berry joined 14 other leading philanthropic, academic, business, non-profit, artistic, and political leaders came  together to share their visions for what they and we can and should do together “Within 10 Years” to address our country’s and our world’s greatest challenges. Mayor Berry’s speech on the innovative ways Albuquerque is tackling social issues, resonated with a wide variety of people tuning into the speech resulting in several people looking to adopt the initiative in their towns. Since the inception of the initiative cities like Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Tucson, Portland (Oregon), Portland (Maine), Honolulu, Anchorage (Alaska), Denver, Spokane, Amarillo, and Lexington have implemented similar programs citing Albuquerque’s success.

To watch Mayor Berry’s TED talk, please visit:  go.ted.com/richardberry

In its first two hours of being published it has already garnered 32,126 views!

There’s a Better Way started in May 2015 with 15 signs posted at intersections throughout Albuquerque giving drivers an alternative way to donate and panhandlers information to get connected to services. In September 2015 Mayor Berry introduced There’s A Better Way 2.0 where the city partnered with St. Martin’s Hospitality Center (SMHC) to drive around, the city and hire panhandlers for day-long beautification projects such as pulling weeds and picking up trash. Since that launch, the initiative has been a success with wide spread success, garnering international attention. In December 2016, There’s A Better Way 3.0 launched a Citizens At Risk Evaluators (C.A.R.E.) Team to meet with panhandlers on the corners where they are standing to listen, learn and better understand each person’s situation and to then craft solutions for them, such as connections to family, shelter, work or case management.

Through August 11th, 2017, There’s A Better Way has produced the following statistics:

  • 840 unduplicated people have worked in this program, totaling 3,080 jobs provided to panhandlers in Albuquerque.
  • Permanent Jobs – 330 of the 840 unduplicated workers have come to Employment Services.
    • 224/330 were seeking permanent employment, 48 of those 224 found permanent jobs so far; 125/330 were seeking additional Day Labor opportunities.
  • Received Housing – 20 households have been placed into stable housing through SMHC housing programs.
  • Engaged with Mental Health or Substance Abuse Service – 189 clients have engaged with SMHC’s Behavioral Health Department for either mental health or substance abuse treatment options.
  • 564 city blocks have been cleaned up with 165,701 pounds of litter and weeds that have been removed.
  • The program has received over 18,322 calls with 96% of those calls looking to be connected to resources.
  • Total donations to date: $61,971.

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About TED:

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Lewinsky, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to  thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

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