NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The Elm City is now tackling panhandling one coin at a time. That’s the idea behind the city of New Haven’s new meters that just popped up. These are called donation stations and city leaders are hoping you’ll drop in your change to make change around the city.
The goal behind this is to deter folks from panhandling. All the money collected goes to Liberty Community Services.
They’re a group working to end homelessness in the Greater New Haven area by tackling mental health problems, addiction, and help folks find housing.
The city has four locations for the meters. One is at the corner of Chapel and College. There’s one at the College Street Garage. Over at York and Chapel you’ll find one and there’s also one at Broadway and Elm Street.
City leaders say putting your money there will make more of an impact because it will go toward programs to end homelessness. City leaders say when you give hand outs directly it can sometimes fuel addiction and the money doesn’t always go to the right place.
“I don’t give to panhandlers in general, but I would give to this,” said Ron Chan who works in New Haven.
“I think it’s a very effective way to distribute money and help out people in need,” said New Haven’s Jonathan Bates.
News 8 spoke with a lot of folks today who seemed interested and would be willing to donate, but some we spoke with say they would like to see more signage to explain really what it’s all about.
“Promoting is probably a good idea too. All of a sudden it appeared and we didn’t know what it was,” said Woodbridge’s Deborah Dombkowski.
“My concern when I give a homeless individual money directly that they would go spend it on drugs. So with this it’s more safe,” said New Haven’s Eric Carlson who reached into his pocket and put money in the meter.
“Keep it up New Haven. Way to go. Way to be progressive,” said Don Compton who was visiting New Haven.
Organizers say other cities with similar programs have collected thousands and they hope it will create an awareness of the programs available. Also, if you see someone in need right away you can call 211 and a caseworker will come out and help that person, especially this time of year when it can be dangerously cold.
If you’d like to help, the meters can be found at these locations:
- Corner of Chapel & College Streets outside INFO New Haven
- College Street Garage Lobby
- Corner of York & Chapel Streets outside of the Yale Repertory Theater
- Corner of Broadway & Elm by the pop-up Peabody Museum