New Haven asking people to ‘Give Change to Make Change’ with new donation meters

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NEW HAVEN -- The city of New Haven is tackling homelessness and panhandling with a new initiative: "Give Change to Make Change."

The city announced the installation of four new parking meters on Monday, specially designed to collect donations to help the homeless.

The city will install a total of 10 meters as a designated place you can donate to avoid giving money to panhandlers.

"One of the things we learned through a perception study of our town is that a lot of people aren't comfortable with the panhandling that occurs," Mayor Toni Harp said. "We also know that a lot of time panhandlers are in the profession of panhandling, they’re not homeless people."

The city is collaborating with the Town Green Special Services District and other partners focused on reducing homelessness in the city.

The money that goes in the meters will go directly to the cause. For example, it will help fund city shelters, soup kitchens and the new "Respect Mobiles," which pick up the homeless and provide them with paid work for the day.

According to Mayor Harp, the locations of the meters were chosen based on where panhandling is reported the most.

The first four installed meters can be found at:

  • The corner of Chapel & College outside INFO New Haven
  • College Street Garage Lobby
  • Corner of York & Chapel outside of the Yale Rep
  • Corner of Broadway & Elm by the pop-up Peabody Museum

FOX 61 spoke to people in support of "Giving Change to Make Change," many of whom were excited about the prospect this holiday season.

"It's pretty inviting, you can use credit card which is nice. Yeah, I think people will definitely donate," Yale medical student Michael Warren said. "It's a really good time to be giving back and making sure people are comfortable in the winter and doing the best with the money you can."

The city wants to push the message that it's okay to say no to panhandling, but yes to giving.

The parking meters were donated to the city by IPS Group.

If you want to donate online click here.