Yesterday, Monday March 5, 2007, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper unveiled “donation meters” to raise money for the city’s homeless population. Today, The Denver Daily News reported that these meters have already raised $36,000. The parking meters are a part of the Road Home plan to fight homelessness in Denver.
Apparently, old parking meters in downtown Denver in various locations, including Skyline Park were revamped to act as donation meters. CBS4Denver News reports that the idea behind the parking meters is to encourage Colorado residents to donate money to the homeless rather than to give money to panhandlers.
Downtown Denver is a common place for homeless panhandlers to hang out. According to the President of Downtown Denver Partnership Tami Door, residents already give $4 million to Denver panhandlers each year.
She also told The Denver Daily News that this program is a way in which the community can contribute to substance abuse counseling, meals, shelter, and employment assistance for the homeless in Denver. Hickenlooper asserts this project is another interactive way in which the community can help those in need.
Bill Vidal, manager of Public Works, told The Denver Daily News: “You might be asking yourself how much good can spare change really do? But a few coins can make a huge difference in someone’s life – 50 cents helps a homeless person to use public transportation to reach an appointment; $1.50 provides a meal for a homeless individual; and $20 provides a homeless family with food, shelter, clothing, employment assistance, and case management for a day.”
Giving to panhandlers might make you feel good about yourself and indeed, it helps these individuals get food, but it appears to be better to donate to homeless organizations. Organizations who aid the homeless are able to provide more resources for a greater number of people than would be possible if everyone gives to homeless people individually on the street.
Money placed in the donation meters will go to organizations that aid homeless individuals in Denver says the CBS4Denver News.
Hickenlooper told CBS4Denver News:”Denver’s 10 year plan to end homelessness, what we call Denver’s road home, has really become a national model. I think we’ve had the greatest success in getting the whole community to buy in, to believe this is something we can tackle as a community.”
The Denver Daily News reports a recent report from the U.S. Department of Housing estimated that on any given night there are 21,370 homeless individuals in Colorado.
To help end homelessness in Denver, donate your spare change in one of these new parking meters located in downtown Denver.
CBS4Denver News: www.cbs4denver.com
The Denver Daily News: www.thedenverdailynews.com