Give PANHANDLERS Vouchers-Not-Change? Why or why not? [today's

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 14:36:53 -0400


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Some communities have VOUCHER campaigns to discourage giving money to
panhandlers.  Often, these campaigns are co-sponsored by local businesses
and nonprofits.

In Boston, our street paper, Spare Change, was involved in a Voucher
campaign years ago, but the effort did not take hold.  The article below
describes a similar campaign in Boulder, Colorado.

Do "Vouchers Not Spare Change" campaigns benefit or harm homeless people's
interests?
What leads you to your conclusion?

New list members and old, please share your opinion on this with us.  Thanks.

Seeking peaceful means to homeles people's aims. -- Tom B


http://insidedenver.com:80/news/1104vouc6.shtml
FWD  Rocky Mountain News [Colorado] - November 4, 1998


SPARE CHANGE GIVES WAY TO VOUCHERS FOR STREET PEOPLE
BIG HEARTED FOLKS CAN GIVE FOOD OR SERVICES, NOT BOOZE OR SMOKES

By Kevin McCullen - News Staff Writer


BOULDER -- Panhandlers can get more than spare change today from
big-hearted people in Boulder.

The homeless might find small, blue bills in their hands when they ask for
money through a revised program designed to offer food, clothing,
transportation or laundry service to some of the 200 to 300 people who live
on the city streets.

Through the Boulder Change program, those who want to help the homeless --
and be assured their contributions won't be used to buy alcohol, cigarettes
or drugs -- can give them a $1 voucher.

The vouchers can be exchanged for merchandise or services at about 20
Boulder businesses -- but not for tobacco or alcohol products.

They are for sale at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and First United
Methodist Church downtown, said Lorna Hutcheson, program coordinator.

Nearly $400 worth of vouchers were sold in the first two weeks of Boulder
Change, a major expansion of a similar effort a few downtown area
businesses tried several years ago. Nearly 1,500 vouchers are available,
and another 2,500 could be printed if demand warrants, Hutcheson said.

The vouchers are slowly gaining acceptance, Hutcheson said. In one case, a
homeless woman who is pregnant approached Hutcheson and thanked her, saying
she was "thrilled to be able to go to a grocery store and get some fresh
vegetables instead of eating out of cans."

Organizers of the program also said they were pleased with the number of
businesses that have agreed to accept the vouchers. Participating merchants
and companies are reimbursed, said Bob Mann, executive director for the
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.

Some of the participating businesses are small, including Freddie's Hot
Dogs, Dairy Queen, Community Plaza Wash O Mat and Diagonal Laundromat.
There also are a handful of markets, including King Soopers, a service
station, Rich's Amoco, and a clothing store, ARES Thrift Store.

Services also are available, including Regional Transportation District bus
rides and medical and dental assistance from the People's Clinic and Dental
Aid.

"It may be someone just needs money for gasoline to get to another town, or
they need clothing or to see a doctor," Hutcheson said.

Boulder Change, which costs about $50,000 annually for salaries and
services, is modeled after a program in Berkeley, Calif., Mann said. It is
sponsored by the shelter and Streetreach, a federal Housing and Urban
Development-funded program to contact street people and steer them into
self-help and employment services.

"We have enough history with the other program to know this can work," Mann
said.

"We hope this program gets a fair test," said Deputy Police Chief Jim
Hughes, whose officers deal daily with street people. "Our observation has
been that the money they collect from people on the mall is not spent on
food or necessities, but on alcohol and tobacco.

"This seems a logical way to go, because there are people in this community
who want to help but don't want to see their money spent on alcohol," he
said.

Police also regularly must take severely intoxicated people to the county
alcohol and recovery center to dry out. And in the past year, there have
been several accidental fatalities among drunken transients who froze to
death or stumbled into busy streets and were struck by cars, Hughes said.

A June survey conducted by the Denver Metropolitan Area Homeless Initiative
in the six-county area counted 5,792 homeless, including 671 at shelters,
soup kitchens or emergency assistance facilities in Boulder County, Mann
said.
HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
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POSTING TIP:  For ON-LIST REPLIES to HPN, change TO header To:
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reply.



Some communities have VOUCHER campaigns to discourage giving money to
panhandlers.  Often, these campaigns are co-sponsored by local
businesses and nonprofits.


In Boston, our street paper, Spare Change, was involved in a Voucher
campaign years ago, but the effort did not take hold.  The article
below describes a similar campaign in Boulder, Colorado.


Do "Vouchers Not Spare Change" campaigns benefit or harm homeless
people's interests?

What leads you to your conclusion?


New list members and old, please share your opinion on this with us. 
Thanks.


Seeking peaceful means to homeles people's aims. -- Tom B  



http://insidedenver.com:80/news/1104vouc6.shtml

FWD  Rocky Mountain News [Colorado] - November 4, 1998



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>SPARE CHANGE GIVES WAY TO VOUCHERS
FOR STREET PEOPLE

BIG HEARTED FOLKS CAN GIVE FOOD OR SERVICES, NOT BOOZE OR SMOKES


By Kevin McCullen - News Staff Writer

</paraindent>


BOULDER -- Panhandlers can get more than spare change today from
big-hearted people in Boulder.


The homeless might find small, blue bills in their hands when they ask
for money through a revised program designed to offer food, clothing,
transportation or laundry service to some of the 200 to 300 people who
live on the city streets.


Through the Boulder Change program, those who want to help the homeless
-- and be assured their contributions won't be used to buy alcohol,
cigarettes or drugs -- can give them a $1 voucher.


The vouchers can be exchanged for merchandise or services at about 20
Boulder businesses -- but not for tobacco or alcohol products.


They are for sale at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and First
United Methodist Church downtown, said Lorna Hutcheson, program
coordinator.


Nearly $400 worth of vouchers were sold in the first two weeks of
Boulder Change, a major expansion of a similar effort a few downtown
area businesses tried several years ago. Nearly 1,500 vouchers are
available, and another 2,500 could be printed if demand warrants,
Hutcheson said.


The vouchers are slowly gaining acceptance, Hutcheson said. In one
case, a homeless woman who is pregnant approached Hutcheson and thanked
her, saying she was "thrilled to be able to go to a grocery store and
get some fresh vegetables instead of eating out of cans."


Organizers of the program also said they were pleased with the number
of businesses that have agreed to accept the vouchers. Participating
merchants and companies are reimbursed, said Bob Mann, executive
director for the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.


Some of the participating businesses are small, including Freddie's Hot
Dogs, Dairy Queen, Community Plaza Wash O Mat and Diagonal Laundromat.
There also are a handful of markets, including King Soopers, a service
station, Rich's Amoco, and a clothing store, ARES Thrift Store.


Services also are available, including Regional Transportation District
bus rides and medical and dental assistance from the People's Clinic
and Dental Aid.


"It may be someone just needs money for gasoline to get to another
town, or they need clothing or to see a doctor," Hutcheson said.


Boulder Change, which costs about $50,000 annually for salaries and
services, is modeled after a program in Berkeley, Calif., Mann said. It
is sponsored by the shelter and Streetreach, a federal Housing and
Urban Development-funded program to contact street people and steer
them into self-help and employment services.


"We have enough history with the other program to know this can work,"
Mann said.


"We hope this program gets a fair test," said Deputy Police Chief Jim
Hughes, whose officers deal daily with street people. "Our observation
has been that the money they collect from people on the mall is not
spent on food or necessities, but on alcohol and tobacco.


"This seems a logical way to go, because there are people in this
community who want to help but don't want to see their money spent on
alcohol," he said.


Police also regularly must take severely intoxicated people to the
county alcohol and recovery center to dry out. And in the past year,
there have been several accidental fatalities among drunken transients
who froze to death or stumbled into busy streets and were struck by
cars, Hughes said.


A June survey conducted by the Denver Metropolitan Area Homeless
Initiative in the six-county area counted 5,792 homeless, including 671
at shelters, soup kitchens or emergency assistance facilities in
Boulder County, Mann said.

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

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