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Are Meters the Answer to Panhandlers?

KNDO

Yakima city officials are looking at what are called “Giving Meters” as one way to help deal with the areas’ panhandling problem.

They’re refurbished parking meters that are brightly painted. The city said the point of giving meters is to deter aggressive panhandling.

People who would like to help those in need can drop money into these meters, and then that money will go directly to organizations that provide services to the homeless.

Joan Davenport, the City’s Strategic Projects Manager says it’s a way to get money to a beneficial cause instead of giving directly to a panhandler who may be using the extra change for destructive habits.

“The question that is always in everybody’s mind, if you give money to a panhandler are they truly homeless or are they supporting some sort of addiction or habit? And that is what the research shows, is that many people who panhandle are not truly homeless.”

The proposal will be considered by the City’s Public Safety Committee Thursday. If approved, the city will get around a dozen giving meters, which will be installed on either side of Yakima Avenue during the fall.

The city said purchasing and setting up these meters will cost around $7,000.

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