City officials say there’s a better way to give to those in need

12:00 a.m. Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 Local

coalition organized by the Downtown Dayton Partnership is encouraging people to stop donating to panhandlers and donate to its campaign instead. 

The Real Change Dayton campaign, which was announced in June, has collected about $800 so far, according to Val Hunt Beerbower, Downtown Dayton Partnership spokeswoman.

>> How you can give to Real Change Dayton

>> 6 things Dayton is doing to address the explosion of panhandlers — and how you can help

Beerbower said about $145 in change has been dropped in one of 12 retired, re-purposed city of Dayton parking meters that are part of the campaign. The meters have been painted red.

Another $145 has been donated through text-to-give. The rest of the money is from a donor who wished to remain anonymous, Beerbower said. 

She said it is not known how much has been donated directly to local charities due the campaign. 

“That’s a little bit harder to track,” she said. 

>> REPORTER: 7 things I learned hanging out with Dayton panhandlers

The program, organized by the Downtown Dayton Partnership, includes the City of Dayton, Dayton police and a bevy of social service nonprofits. The campaign’s goal is to address the increase in local panhandling following a 2015 Supreme Court decision. 

Dayton dropped its anti-panhandling law due to the decision. 

When the campaign was released, Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said giving to panhandlers feeds the opiate addiction crisis.

“Providing donations on the spot may be an immediate win-win, but would you rather provide a donation that supports long-term, sustainable addressing of those issues, or provide money for the next quick fix?” she said then. 

>> RELATED:  Beggars brace as city says ‘it’s OK to say no’ to them

Byron Stirsman, staff
WHIO anchor James Brown investigates where spare change given to panhandlers actually goes as part of a News Center 7 special report set to air Monday beginning at 5 p.m.
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