Parking Meters Collect Money for the Homeless

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This is a neat idea: parking meters repurposed to collect change for the homeless. The program is now running in Orlando, FL, as well.
Donors drop coins into the meters, which are used only to collect contributions, not to regulate parking. City workers collect the change, which is given to the Central Florida Commission for Homelessness, a nonprofit group partly funded by the city.

The money will go to the commission's Ten2End initiative, which aims to end homelessness in Central Florida within the decade by helping people become self-sufficient.


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This may not be PC, but in my observations the vast majority of panhandlers are just hanging out with their buddies and mooching beer/cigarette money.

Putting money towards some agency will likely fund its own costs rather than providing food, shelter and treatment for the mentally ill, who truly do need help.

I didn't say I have the answer:-(
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These meters aren't really about the homeless, they're about panhandlers. The point isn't to raise money. Often they collect very little money and take a while to even cover the costs of the meter and installation.

The point is to give the suckers who are targeted by professional panhandlers an out. You don't feel guilty telling a panhandler no when you've made a donation at the meter... or more likely, plan to give a donation but never get around to it. While it surely varies from place to place, in my city when the police do sweeps on aggressive panhandlers, they find that the vast majority (over 80%) have homes and most have jobs... they're just supplementing their income because it's easy and has almost no downside.

Aggressive panhandlers are destroyers of business and entertainment districts. Most of the homeless do not panhandle! While there is some overlap between the two groups, it is not as much as one would think. Governments and social agencies have tried lots of methods of breaking the panhandler-guilt-visitor money flow. The meters are just the latest attempt. They might end up working but let's not fool ourselves into seeing them as any kind of cure for homelessness. While they do provide some money for programs aimed at the homeless, it is a very tiny drop in the bucket and the meters are really about changing the quality of experience people have while visiting the district in question.

If this works to get rid of the aggressive panhandlers, it should also help the homeless by allowing people to feel sympathy for them again. There is nothing like being followed around and cursed at by someone wanting your money to harden your heart. Panhandlers masking themselves as homeless doing tremendous damage to the image of the truly homeless and make it difficult to raise funds for programs that can make a difference.
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The majority of homeless are mentally ill. No amount of money will change that and since the government won't allow involuntary institutionalization there will always be homeless. Another feel good idea that will go nowhere.
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This video actually spotlights a program from St. Louis, MO. Although nothing is wrong with showing off the Lou. The Central West End is a favorite spot, along with The Loop, for anyone wanting to visit soon.
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