Connecting state and local government leaders
Mayors face a "common set of challenges" and benefit from sharing their experiences and insights of how they're dealing with major policy challenges, like reducing homelessness in their cities.
This is the eighth in a series of Route Fifty video interviews with mayors who are in Austin, Texas, for SXSW. Previously, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
During an interview at SXSW, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry at SXSW pointed out one of the realities of municipal government. The top policy challenges that city halls face are not unique to any one political party. Democratic and Republican mayors are dealing with the complexities of homelessness, job creation, education and other issues.
“Everyone has a common set of challenges and so if we can get together to talk about the opportunities that come from those challenges, taking those good ideas home, share the ones that we have from our community, it adds value for our constituents,” Berry, a Republican, told Route Fifty in an interview at SXSW. “It helps us to govern.”
Among the lessons Berry’s fellow mayors can learn from Albuquerque: Its Heading Home program to ease homelessness in New Mexico’s largest city.
“Last year, we were able to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 80 percent,” Berry said, adding that chronic homelessness overall is down by 40 percent. “Functional homelessness” among veterans has been eliminated in Albuquerque, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition, he said.
Mitch Herckis is Senior Program Director at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.