Richmond proposing program that would offer jobs to panhandlers

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Later this month, Richmond City Council is expected to vote on a program that could help change the lives of many Richmond panhandlers on the streets

The program is called ‘There’s a Better Way.’ The idea is based off of a similar program in Albequerque, New Mexico where people living on the streets are offered day labor jobs.

According to Councilman Parker Agelasto, the program would offer temporary employment and fill the void until people can get back on their feet. It would also connect them to services, which is seen as a win-win for both parties by many.

“I actually carry this bag around, that I give chips and water to them, since i don’t have any extra cash,” said area resident Becca Burnside. “They’d be able to feed themselves better and maybe look into getting a better job. They’d be able to take showers.”

City Council still has some things to iron out before the program goes to vote, but surprisingly, Councilman Agelasto says getting the people who would benefit the most from the program to sign up is often the hardest part.

That sentiment is best explained by a man who calls himself Crisco, a traveler currently living on the streets.

“It might work, I doubt it will,” he said. “A lot of people out here, they choose to be out here.”

Along with Albequerque, Richmond is also looking to take notes from Virginia Beach, who’s parking meters have been turned into donation boxes.

A vote for ‘There’s a Better Way’ is expected January 25th.

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