City Lock Boxes, To Help End Homelessness
By Frankie S. Abbruzzino, The Uncensored Report
My friend Tony was up in Vermont last week, relaxing and enjoying the environment with his family. While up there, they visited Burlington, which appeared to have a lot of poverty and homelessness. While observing the sights, he noticed that novel concept that the city has implemented, for individuals that would like to help the homeless.
I recall a significant point that Dr. Marbut use to drive home, while consulting the four cities and county on our homeless issue, was that people should not give the homeless money. By doing this, we are only enabling negative behaviors. His suggestion was to give it to local charities that help the homeless. Groups like the Salvation Army, Harvest House, churches and many of the other organizations in our area.
At one point some vendors along Main St. in Sarasota set up little boxes that were kept on their counters. There was a note, encouraging visitors to put money in the box, versus handing it out to the homeless. They would then take that money and give it to the great organizations within Sarasota, that are addressing the homeless issue. I am not sure if they are still running this program or what ever became of it, in regards to effectiveness. Did it stop or slow down the process of visitors giving money out to the homeless? I believe the big issue revolved around the fact that visitors giving the homeless money, only encouraged the homeless to hang out in the tourist areas. So, although it seems like the business were doing a good thing, they really had an ulterior motive.
Back to my friend Tony and his visit to Vermont. While in Burlington, he came across a similar concept to what the Main Street business owners were trying to achieve in Sarasota. The difference was that the “giving box” was not in stores and to me they appear to stand out more. I mean that in a good way.
Basically the town has these charitable lock boxes set up throughout the city. They paint and design them, so that they are aesthetically charming. The boxes are locked down and there does not appear to be an issue with theft or damaging the boxes.
On the boxes is a notice, indicating that the money goes directly to COT. COT is an organization that is out thee struggling to help their homeless population. It has a note stating “By giving to COTS, instead of an individual on the street, you are helping fund long-term solutions that end homelessness for everyone”.
Some may say that this is an expense that the city cannot take on……. That is debatable. However, note that second paragraph. The machines are actually financed by local businesses. The business benefit in two ways. It illustrates their willingness to help and find a solution to the homeless question. Also, it gives them some advertising, as a caring business.
This is a win-win for the businesses, the homeless individuals, the city/county, and the non-profit organizations working to end homelessness.
This option will slow or stop visitors from handing money directly to the homeless individuals. Thus, giving the homeless a strong enough reason to leave that tourist area and head off to the areas that are closer to the homeless organization. The homeless individual is getting more help, since the non-profit is assumed to have more money coming in through this program. The residents will see that the city/county are coming up with a solution to the homeless question, versus sitting on their hands and arguing over where to build the next shelter.