Give a hand up, not a hand out
Our community is working to improve conditions for homeless individuals. We can all be part of the solution by not enabling – by giving panhandlers money or by feeding people on the street. While street feeding may be well-intended, it must be redirected.
- Help agencies that are helping solve the problem. Donate with a tax deductible contribution to the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board.
- Providing food or or other services to the homeless fosters a society of enabling, and not engaging. If you or your church or neighborhood group wants to feed the homeless, collect non-perishable foods and donate them to Pinellas Hope. Volunteers are also needed at these locations.
- If you encounter an individual on the street that is need of services or help, refer them to 2-1-1.
- If you witness any criminal activity, call 727-893-7780 or if it is an emergency situation, call 9-1-1.
The Power of Change Homeless Initiative
More than $6,000 Collected
The Power of Change Homeless Initiative, implemented in October 2014 by the City of St. Petersburg, is utilizing repurposed parking meters as a means to raise awareness about homelessness, and to give people the option of donating their spare change to programs that help the homeless, instead of giving money to panhandlers. Posters and rack cards have been developed in conjunction with the donation stations as a means to educate the public about the goals of the program. Initially, the money raised by the donation stations will be allocated to the City of St. Petersburg Homeless Street Outreach Team to provide assistance with emergency housing, diapers, food, family reunification, and other emergency services.
- Increase awareness about homelessness and the initiatives the City of St. Petersburg, working with our community partners and the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board, has implemented to address and reduce homelessness in our community. This includes efforts to prevent homelessness among families and individuals.
- Educate the public about the negative impact panhandling has on our community, tourism, our business partners, as well as the individuals who panhandle for money.
- Provide an opportunity for people to make donations to programs that serve our homeless population. Donations can be made directly at a Power of Change Donation Station or to non-profit agencies/programs that serve homeless families and individuals.
Initially, 12 donation stations will be installed throughout St. Petersburg. Locations with high pedestrian traffic have been selected as the initial sites. Additional locations may be added if the program proves successful. Donation stations may also be temporarily installed at select locations during special events. As we gain experience with this initiative, it is likely that locations will need to be continuously adjusted to maximize the effectiveness of the program.
The City of St. Petersburg Veterans, Social and Homeless Services Office will continue to coordinate and promote the Power of Change Homeless Initiative. Regular collections from the meters will be made by the City’s Transportation and Parking Management Department. All funds collected will be utilized by the Homeless Street Outreach Team to assist families and individuals who are homeless. This initiative, in addition to the benefits of raising awareness about homelessness and the negative impacts of panhandling, will help generate additional resources to assist our citizens who are homeless in their quest to return to self-sufficiency.