SF Meters Will Take Coins for Homeless

City, aiming to cut panhandling, will give change to non-profits
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 13, 2008 1:58 PM CDT
Victor Cattolico, center, and Josh Quinn, right, hand out a thanksgiving meal to a homeless man on a street corner in San Francisco on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2007.    (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – San Francisco’s got a new plan to address panhandling: The city is installing old parking meters in popular begging areas where passers-by can drop their spare change rather than giving it to panhandlers. The money will go to local non-profits to help the homeless, the Chronicle reports. “We're not helping these individuals by handing out cash” directly, says the city’s mayor.

“The reason people are panhandling is because there's a market for panhandling,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “If there was strong evidence” that handing money to panhandlers helped them “turn their lives around, we would not be using this approach.” But some homeless advocates reject the plan. It plays into a stereotype that all panhandled money is going to drugs, says one, calling it “utterly ridiculous.”