TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — According to the Sierra Vista Police Department, around 70 people in town identify as homeless.
"There were a few moments where I was surviving on the grace of good people," said Sidney Potter.
Potter lived on the streets for a period of his life and now advocates for the homeless community in Sierra Vista.
"Good people are how you get out. Usually we can't do it ourselves. That's why we fell in that position. We rely on the community," said Potter.
The new program and non-profit organization, Better Bucks, makes it easier for good people to give to those in need.
"There are a lot of needy people in the world and in our community. Some folks might be reluctant to give to those folks because they don't know what their gift is going to be used for," said Corporal Scott Borgstadt with the Sierra Vista Police Department.
Borgstadt is helping launch the Better Bucks program in Sierra Vista, this weekend. Starting Friday, October 1, community members can purchase a booklet for $6 and hand it out when they meet someone who is struggling to get by.
"They'll be able to purchase living essentials, which is food, clothing, toiletries or pet food,. They'll not be able to purchase money orders, alcohol or tobacco," said Borgstadt.
Better Bucks can be redeemed at Fry's, Food City, Culver's, Sierra Vista Public Library and Goodwill. Services like transportation and animal care are also an option.
The City of Flagstaff was the first to launch a program like this in the state.
"It's worked great. We actually paid out over $27,000 to our merchants. That's $27,000 we've kept off the street," said Better Bucks Program Founder, Vicki Burton.
Leaders in Sierra Vista hope the program will be just as successful in Southern Arizona.
"We're trying to involve the community and come together to fight this issue," said Borgstadt.
Better Bucks can be purchased at Sierra Vista City Hall, Sierra Vista Police Department and Sierra Vista Public Library. For more information, click here or call 520-226-5067.
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