Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How Albuquerque took on homelessness

My latest for POLITICO Magazine's What Works series is on how a concerned Republican mayor and an out-of-control police department created the context for an impressive and comprehensive effort to deal with homelessness in Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city. From a van that picks willing panhandlers off the street and puts them to work for the day for $9.50 an hour to a drive to get the most vulnerable homeless people into permanent homes immediately, the city has been turning heads and pointing the way toward more effective strategies for helping people get off the streets.

This is my tenth full-length "What Works" piece this year. The others were on how Des Moines went from dull to cool; how Manchester, New Hampshire turned its vast 19th century millyard to spinning high-tech gold; on how Denver built its game-changing light rail system, only to discover its most powerful effects were not what they'd expected; how Cincinnati transformed "America's most dangerous neighborhood"; how Philadelphia repurposed a 1200 acre former naval base;  how Milwaukee breathed life back into a legacy industrial district, creating the manufacturing park of the future; how Roanoke, Virginia went from a train city to a brain city;  how Winston-Salem, North Carolina pivoted from tobacco manufacturing to high-tech innovation and how Burlington, Vermont -- Bernie Sanders' hometown -- became the country's first all-renewable-powered city. In addition -- on the occasion of the Republican National Convention -- I had this shorter story on how Cleveland revamped its long-neglected Public Square.

Where's next for What Works? Hint: for one religious denomination, it's literally the Holy Land.

[Update, 1/16/17: Bloomberg View columnist Noah Smith took up this story in his syndicated column.]

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