It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say


Posted by chrisrick13 on August 24, 2017

It is obvious: I can help people in need


I listened to a TED talk last week by the mayor of Albuquerque. He had put signs around the town with a toll-free number offering accommodation, food and help to anyone who needed it. Mainly homeless and beggars – the same group really. The signs were having an effect but not much. Then he saw a man standing under one of his signs begging…for a job.

In short he cut through all the problems and got what became a fleet of vans that toured the city every day. They would pull up at beggars on the pavement and offer them a days work to be dropped off back there or at a refuge at the end. They would earn enough money to buy food and accommodation and have money left over.

The scheme is saving the city millions and has all but eliminated begging and homelessness in the city. (Listen to the talk.)

I often muse on schemes to do the same with prisoners. The problem is that the homeless person can run away from the job and nothing happens. Can’t do the same with prisoners! Community service is an attempted step in that direction. I don’t know that it works that well though. My musing extends to “two years in the army” which was a solution used two generations ago but is not possible now.

The Albuquerque scheme works because there are people in a poor place who will effectively enter something close to slave labour to get out of it. The city is not a criminal organisation so helps these people and does not perpetuate their ‘slavery’. There is a gap in the market that they fill. Means and ends? There is not much harm done and a lot of good which washes away my unease.

As the mayor described it, the scheme was incredibly easy to set up.

Why can’t we do it for the deprived people on the world but concentrated in Africa?


It is obvious: I can help people in need but just giving money will not do it

2 Responses to “Gizzajob”

  1. Pandora said

    I’m not sure that things are the same over here. Unlike the US we do have a ‘safety net’ to help those who are having difficulty finding work, in fact sometimes the incentive to find work (particularly in rural areas where wages have been driven down by EU migration) just isn’t there as the state support for families can be more than that provided by the very low farm wages.

    The other problem with finding people work is that those you are trying to help often have other issues that have placed them in their predicament. Perhaps mental health issues or dependancy problems and while ‘Character Building’ in the armed forces may initially seem like a good idea you do have to remember that our army (plus navy and airforce) is essentially being trained in the use of force to persue their objectives and to kill people in the last resort. Putting such people on the streets without the appropriate changes and support looks like a recipe for more problems to me!

    • Pandora said

      I should have asked; What work did Albuquerque offer these people and how much were they willing to pay?

      Plus, assuming the work was REALLY needed by the city, what did the existing staff think about the scheme?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: