Have you noticed the brightly colored meters in Downtown New Haven? They’re part of the Give Change to Make Change Program unveiled at a press conference on December 12, 2016 at New Haven’s City Hall.
The program encourages the public to deposit change into select meters in Downtown New Haven and funds directly support outreach programs in the City. The program is meant to encourage people to “Say Yes to Giving and No to Panhandling.”
Four meters have been installed in downtown New Haven already with 6 more scheduled to be installed after feedback from the community for additional locations. The current meter locations include:
- entrance to Crown Street garage (near the Shubert)
- In front of the INFO New Haven Visitor Center
- By the Yale Repertory Theater
- on Broadway Island
The City of New Haven offers robust social services to help people in need from all walks of life and the Give Change to Make Change Program is further evidence of New Haven’s caring nature, meant to achieve two goals:
- Provide an alternative giving mechanism for the public to raise money for those in need of homeless services
- Raise awareness in the general public that there is a better, more responsible way to help than giving money to a panhandler on the street.
Give Change to Make Change seeks to differentiate the act of panhandling from the condition of homelessness as not all panhandlers are homeless and there are many different reasons that a person will engage in panhandling.
Police have reported that professional panhandlers can make upwards of $100 a day in Downtown New Haven – taking money out of the pockets of individuals who are trying to do the right thing.
There is evidence to support that the act of panhandling hurts social service efforts to get people off the street and into services.
The money received by Give Change to Make Change will go directly toward homeless services including outreach and engagement, feeding the hungry and giving jobs to the homeless through Liberty Community Services.
The program has been in the works for a couple years as part of a bigger initiative, including several City partners, to improve the perception of New Haven.Town Green District represents over 300 downtown businesses and property owners and is a proud partner in the Give Change to Make Change initiative.
In this season of giving, please consider an on-street donation at one of the four downtown meter locations or donate online at givechangetomakechange.org.