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City Council will vote to approve parking meter program to help the homeless

Posted at 10:41 AM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 22:03:16-04
Over the years, the city has noticed an increase of homelessness.
 
Tucson City Council will vote next week on a program that allows people to donate to help the homeless through a parking meter.
 
Tucson Change Movement is behind this program. Their goal is to make it easier for people to give to the homeless. 
 
The new parking meter will be just like regular parking meters you see on the street, but they won't replace the pay parking meters.
 
Along the street car line on Fourth Avenue, bright yellow or orange meters could be placed to help people donate to the homeless without confrontation.
 
"We find that folks really want to give but sometimes the interaction has more friction that what you would like, our goal is to take the friction out of giving," said John Jacobs, founder of Tucson Change Movement.
 
Some say it's hard to give to the homeless when you don't know what they are spending that money on.
 
With this program, every 97 cents per dollar will go towards food and shelter. 
 
These meters will cost the city nothing and will take credit cards and coins.
 
A couple of cities implement the same meter program to help people donate to the homeless.
 
But Tucson is doing things a little different.
 
They are actually incorporating a QR code. With the code, you scan the meter and within seconds donate.
 
Over 400 businesses are involved in the program and will have collection devices in their store in addition to the meters.  
 
Business owner Ali Bagheri says the homeless come into his store asking for money and he thinks this system will help.
 
"This is probably the best way to put the money in the meter rather than give it to them personally," said Bagheri. "They know that they will get some benefit out of it so maybe indirectly it will encourage them not to come on the avenue."
 
City council will vote next Tuesday on this program.
 
Jacobs says if approved, they will start out with 20 meters and 80 collection devices. They hope to have the meter up and running in 2017.
 
Cities like Denver are doing the same program and raise over $100,000 dollars a year.