A Hand Up: City of San Diego To Mirror Albuquerque Homeless Program

City of San Diego officials are working to give our homeless population a hand up. Paying them to pick up trash as part of a new program.

“Wheels for Change,” appears to be patterned after the successful program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. IVN San Diego wrote about that program August of last year.

In that city, Mayor Richard Berry pioneered the program that has resulted in the following:

  • 400 city blocks in the city of Albuquerque have been cleaned up
  • 117,000 pounds of trash have been removed
  • More than 1,700 homeless have taken part in program
  • 216 have received long term employment opportunities

In San Diego, the homeless population will be cleaning up trash and clearing brush in downtown San Diego for five hours a day. The program, called Alpha’s Project’s “Wheels of Change,” will pay participants $11.50 an hour and expected to hold cleaning shifts three days a week.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said, “This is all about creating more opportunities for homeless individuals to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. ‘Wheels for Change’ will help restore dignity by allowing people to earn a paycheck and begin to get back on their feet. For many, this may be just the chance they need to begin turning their lives around.”


As with Albuquerque, the next important piece to solving the homelessness equation is housing, and it appears with a news conference this week, Mayor Faulconer is trying to do that. Faulconer urged the city council to pass Affordable Housing Code Changes, making housing more affordable for those trying to turn their lives around.

Faulconer is pushing for nearly 50 updates to the Land Development Code that would streamline the project review process and hopefully increase production.