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Roxanne Qualls wants to put those old parking meters to use. The councilwoman yesterday proposed the idea of taking the parking meters, replaced by the new solar-paneled ones, and using them as donation sites for the homeless. She suggested that these meters would be placed in areas, where the homeless frequent to panhandle.

When being interviewed by WCPO, she says “It would give residents and visitors a new way to fund initiatives to provide meals, housing, job training and even substance abuse treatment for those in need”.

Several cities have implemented this idea, and have generated large revenue from it. Denver installed the meters, four years ago, and generated up to $100,000 from its 80 installed meters in the city.

Other cities, however, have not been successful, and paid a hefty price from installing the meters. While Atlanta installed up to $40,000 in meters, only up to $500 was deposited in 2008.

Some organizations also have voiced concern, saying this only reinforces negative stereotypes toward the homeless. In an interview with USA Today, David Pirtle of the National Coalition for the Homeless stated

“The worst thing about being homeless is the way people treat you,” Pirtle says. “If you walk by a panhandler and just ignore them, that just shatters them.”

So let us know what you think: Would you donate money in these meters to help the homeless? Do you think it would help more if you gave the money directly to someone who’s asking for change on the street? Let us know your thoughts by posting your comments below.

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