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Archive for Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coin meters bring change in charitable donations

A new meter downtown, placed by the city in hopes to collect money for the homeless, sits in the 800 block of Massachusetts Street.

A new meter downtown, placed by the city in hopes to collect money for the homeless, sits in the 800 block of Massachusetts Street.

August 2, 2012

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The idea of trying to persuade downtown pedestrians to feed special “donation meters” instead of giving spare change to panhandlers is now up and running in downtown Lawrence.

Thus far, early results suggest the city and downtown leaders still have some work to do in spreading the word.

In mid-June, city crews installed six donation meters at the mid-block crossings along Massachusetts Street between Seventh and 10th streets. During the most recent 30-day collection period, the city collected $51.59 from the meters, which was donated to the Lawrence Community Shelter.

Whatever the financial totals are, leaders at the Lawrence Community Shelter are pleased with the effort.

“The idea is to give people an alternative,” said Loring Henderson, director of the shelter. “It is a positive way to try to help out with the issue of homelessness.”

It also sends a message, Henderson said, that many leaders believe supporting panhandling is an unwise use of people’s funds. The donation meters — which are just used parking meters that have a special paint scheme — ensure that when people give their spare change, the money is going to programs to fight homelessness.

“We don’t support the idea of panhandling,” Henderson said. “It is part of all the forms that people fill out to stay here. We make it clear to people who stay with us that we don’t want them panhandling.”

Now, several leaders said, more effort needs to be made to alert downtown visitors to the donation meter program.

“I think conceptually it is a great idea,” said Cathy Hamilton, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. “I think we just need to do a better job of getting the word out about it.”

But Hamilton said the idea has promise because it makes for an easy way to donate to the shelter.

“It is just a matter of educating people that these meters are at a spot where they can deposit a couple of dollars or a couple of quarters and it will do more good in the effort to fight homelessness,” Hamilton said.

Jonathan Douglass, city clerk, said it cost about $300 per meter for the city to install the meters, which are on both the east and west sides of Massachusetts Street. He said the bulk of those costs were labor costs incurred by city employees. The cost for actual materials was significantly less, Douglass said.

Comments

lynchburgsbest 1 year, 8 months ago

hey can those of use that have jobs but only make 28000 a year have meters to raise money for us? O wait i forgot the city of lawrence only helps those that won't get a job and is a destination city for Bums and homeless folk.

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tbaker 1 year, 8 months ago

So do these meters work like homeless parking spots? When the meters run out, the urban outdoorsman has to move along or be ticketed for vagrancy? Or is this just a way to donate to the homeless shelter that doesn't involve a personal interaction with a street person? Nothing like a real live bum on the street as an ad campaign for the shelter. I like it.

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Liberty275 1 year, 8 months ago

I just got a Veterans tag for the Vette. My first job out of the army was in a hole with a shovel getting the parts a backhoe couldn't.

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frenchie360 1 year, 8 months ago

My Step-dad is a disabled vet and we both agree that you cant expect a free ride just because you served. I respect every vet but doesnt mean they should now sit downtown and ask for change. I think the city should require a permit to panhandle that requires 40hrs of community service or downtown clean-up per month.

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funkdog1 1 year, 8 months ago

So is this guy a vet or what?

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alcoholbliss 1 year, 8 months ago

I received one of these in the mail today.

http://i.imgur.com/wDVjz.jpg?1

The last place I'd spend $35 downtown, maybe someone down at city hall can install a meter in front of Schumm's place next so he'll stop pan handling my mailbox.?

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pizzapete 1 year, 8 months ago

Maybe instead of setting up meters downtown the city could use their "special" sales tax to help pay the poor people who have to work at our new city subsidized hotels and burger joints a living wage

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pizzapete 1 year, 8 months ago

Instead of spending my money helping the poor, the homeless, and less fortunate amongst us, I'm saving my money to buy a bumper sticker that reminds everyone that America is much better off without Saddam Hussein.

1

blue73harley 1 year, 8 months ago

Hmmmm...city spends $1800 and generates $50 worth of change.

Sounds like Larryville at it's finest. The Em-T on a smaller scale.

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beatrice 1 year, 8 months ago

Imagine, making an attempt to help others. How terrible!

WWJS -- (Who would Jesus scorn.)

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Jayhawk1958 1 year, 8 months ago

How about some lettering on the meter that says to not give to panhandlers but give to the meter instead. Or is there a constitutional issue here?

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georgeofwesternkansas 1 year, 8 months ago

The City of Lawrence has saved the world with this meaningless gesture.

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consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

Whoa??? How did I do that /???

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consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

Manay of them claiming to be vet's are lying. If you have military experience, you can ask them what branch they served under and what their M.O.S was. Then you catch them showing their lie.

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oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

homeless vets are usually homeless for a reason, either substance abuse or mental health or both. i would not accept someone's word or sign that they are a vet without knowing more. i can't tell you how many times clients of mine told me they had PTSD from getting kicked out of boot camp, falling off the supply truck or something similar. i have had clients who were in hard combat and they still are having problems. the VA is the first place i send them if they have not initated contact.

give aid to organizations, not bums on the street.

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classclown 1 year, 8 months ago

Does each one come with its own panhandler, or are they sold separately?

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Iwanttosaythis 1 year, 8 months ago

its bad eough that the parking meters steal your money without giving you time now this well if i going to get nothing for my money what the hell

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paulveer 1 year, 8 months ago

Geez, not a breath of human kindness on this page. So judgmental!

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blogme 1 year, 8 months ago

Give it away and they will come. Get ready for more of 'em. Had a couple of runins with the poor and destitute in this town. One had a gas can and was asking for money @ 23rd and Louisiana. Told him to meet me at the station and I'd fill his can. Of course, he couldn't walk a block for his "gas" and didn't want a ride there, just wanted the money. Another one was by king buffet / perkins. Him and his 10-11 year old son. He was asking for money. Buddy of mine told him they have food kitchens here in town if they were hungry. He told us "Yeah, but we're vegetarians." Just shrugged my shoulders and walked away. Seriously? Apparently your parents never told you beggars can't be choosers, another failed societal lesson. Oh well, so be it. Needless to say, govt based charity get's no charity from me.

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UNIKU 1 year, 8 months ago

Is there a slot where I can donate sum gubbment cheez?

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oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

a long time ago my basketball team served thanksgiving dinner at the salvation army. going through the chow line was my neighbor's kid and her boyfriend. she was still living at home and her parents were employed. i quit giving money to beggars after that.

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KEITHMILES05 1 year, 8 months ago

Tragic. Nothing like enabling.

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oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

what happened to bus ticket to Topeka?

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JackMcKee 1 year, 8 months ago

Trailer Park Boys! Come and get 'em!

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d_prowess 1 year, 8 months ago

Chad, next time you talk to these folks can you find out how often the meters are emptied and if the city has any problem with someone plugging them up so you can deposit money? I only ask because I tried a couple weeks ago and I couldn't put any coins in because it was either full or plugged up.

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Clara Westphal 1 year, 8 months ago

Henderson always has his hand out. I wonder how long it will take before the money in the meters start going to some other cause.

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consumer1 1 year, 8 months ago

Has anyone noticed the number of homeless people who own lap tops?? I overheard a couple of homeless folks taking about buying new lap tops yesterday.

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50YearResident 1 year, 8 months ago

The front page picture is worth a thousand words. The bum is sitting next to the meter to collect the donation directly. Don't bother to put the coin in the meter, just hand it over now, thanks. This is the reason the meter will not work to stem panhandling downtown. It will have an opposite effect.

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