ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (KRQE) – The city is adding to its homeless program “There’s a Better Way“. This time, with building a team of professionals that will hit the streets to help panhandlers around the city and get them off street corners.
They’re called the CARE Team or Citizens At Risk Evaluators. The team consists of five professionals coming from organizations like the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department, St. Martin’s and family and community services.
Their goal is to have a conversation with these panhandlers and also ask the tough questions like, why are they on the corner? Are they trying to connect with family? Do they need shelter? Do they need food?
After that, the CARE Team will then figure out a solution to get these people off the streets and get them the help they need to go in the right direction.
This is the third installment of the “There’s a Better Way” program – they’re calling it the 3.0 version. The first one being the blue signs put on street corners asking panhandlers to call 311 for help and directing people to give to organizations instead of the panhandlers. The second phase included working with St. Martin’s Hospitality Center to offer day jobs.
The CARE Team will be taking off every morning around 9:00. They will be driving to the underpasses, intersections and shelters to direct these people to the services they need.
Mayor Richard J. Berry says the care team is a $260,000 a year effort with the money coming from the family community services and solid waste departments.