Parking Meters Help the Homeless


Parking Meters Help the Homeless

Four years ago the Downtown San Diego Partnership installed “Donation Station” parking meters to collect money for the homeless. The meters are installed on private property and do not collect parking fees. The number of meters installed has reached 21 and funds collected equal $10,000.

While the total is far from enough money to help the city end its fight against homelessness, the nonprofit organization that operates the donation program says the meters are about more than generating money for homeless services.

“They were never meant to be a huge money-raiser,” said Kelly Knight, homeless outreach coordinator for the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program. “They were meant to be an awareness and an education tool.”

Whatever money is collected goes to the Work Your Way Home program and equipment and administrative expenses. Work Your Way Home gives the homeless work and helps them reach family members who can help them recover financially. The program buys them tickets to travel wherever they have family members to take them in.

While critics say the program is only meant to discourage panhandling and relocate the homeless, those seem like good things to me if the relocation is a positive change. You don’t have to encourage or discourage panhandling, it’s a fact of life. But getting homeless people back in homes and back to work are worthwhile goals. Using parking meters to do so is a creative approach.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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