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Special Parking Meters in Los Angeles Will Collect Donations for the Homeless

A new initiative in Los Angeles County could potentially generate real change for the area’s ballooning homeless population.

On Thursday, two city council members plan to unveil two new parking meters in Los Angeles’ downtown area. Normally this might not be a notable announcement, but these aren’t your average parking meters.

Like your standard meters, they will accept coins and ATM cards, but unlike their municipal counterparts, all money put into these bright orange “Real Change” meters will be donated to C3, a public-private partnership dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless individuals living on LA’s notorious skid row.

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The two meters are the first of six to be installed throughout Los Angeles Country over the coming months. Each meter will not only collect donations from good-hearted citizens, but also bring in about $3,500 each in sponsorships from local business and patrons.

One of these sponsors, Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar, told the Pasadena Star-News that the long term goal of the project was to make it easier for all members of the community to donate to homeless service programs in an easy and secure manner at whatever level they can manage.

“My hope is this will be a model we can use to increase donation meters throughout the city and county,” he said. “This program gives businesses and other entities the opportunity to donate significant funds to assist those experiencing homelessness, while allowing local residents and visitors to donate money directly into meters and know that their money will get to the right place.”

Los Angeles County has been searching for creative solutions to addressing the needs of its growing homeless population. A 2017 survey revealed that nearly 60,000 residents were homeless, up by a staggering 23% from 2016. Yearly increases in the homeless population were also seen in 2015 and 2016.

The C3 program, which will receive all donated funds, arose in order to serve the needs of this vulnerable population. Shorthand for City, County, and Community, C3 works with individual members of the homeless population in an effort to give them the support they need to secure stable and long-term housing.

Read More: LA Students Are Building Tiny Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Securing proper housing for all individuals means achieving a number of those goals, including eliminating extreme poverty, reducing inequality, and working towards good health and well-being for all. You can take action on this issue here.

If the willingness of Angelenos to open their wallets up for such a cause was ever in question, it’s worth noting that previously installed Real Change meters in the city of Pasadena have raised a total of $20,000 since 2014. About half of this money came from corporate sponsors, while the other half came from donations provided by residents.

All of the funds went to supply formerly homeless individuals and formerly incarcerated individuals with household products.