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City Councilman Seeks Jobs Program For Richmond Panhandlers 

A panhandler solicits money from motorists. An initiative proposed by City Councilman Charles Samuels could have panhandlers working for the city.

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A panhandler solicits money from motorists. An initiative proposed by City Councilman Charles Samuels could have panhandlers working for the city.

Richmond City Councilman Charles Samuels wants to get panhandlers off the street and working for the city. He's proposing that Richmond adopt a program started by the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico that connects panhandlers with public works day labor jobs and transportation. The program, called “There’s a Better Way,” was put into place by Albuquerque officials this year.

“It’s not a cure all of our problems, it’s not something that will help every single person that is dealing with homelessness,” Samuels says. “But it is an opportunity to invest in whether something like the Albuquerque program will work in the City of Richmond and give people some dignity and get them back in the world … and frankly get panhandlers off of the streets.”

When City Council meets on Dec. 14, it will consider whether to study if the initiative will work and is affordable in Richmond. The item is on the consent agenda, so it’s expected to pass without debate. The proposal asks city staff to complete the study within six months of the resolution’s adoption. Samuels says that the program cost Albuquerque about $50,000.

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