INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Helping get the city’s homeless off the streets is the goal of a new effort that asks for your help in a most unusual way.
All you have to do is put a coin or two into a parking meter. About two dozen old, obsolete parking meters have been repaired and repainted and will be installed throughout downtown Indianapolis. Meters that may make a crucial difference in the destiny of the city’s homeless.
Christy Shepard is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, or CHIP as it’s called.
“We know that annually there are 8,000 individuals that experience at least one night of homelessness. It’s a very critical problem,” she says.
The meters are the most visible sign of a fundraising program put together by the CHIP and Downtown Indianapolis Inc. Called “know outlets” it’s goals are significant.
“Ideally we’d love for this campaign to raise $100,000 but we know we will look for $40,000 in the first year,” Shepard says.
Finding housing for the city’s homeless has been an ongoing problem in Indianapolis. Many live in camps. The money raised will be used by 16 different outreach groups.
“They will be used for such things as hygiene needs, food and then again access into shelters and substance abuse and medical treatment,” says Shepard.
Some in the homeless community have already seen the results of the outreach. Michael Schwing is homeless and sleeps in a city park.
“Four people in the camp have gotten housed. Most everyone in camp who wants to be in the housing list is. Several people have gotten medications through midtown,” Schwing says.
While this fundraising effort is new, Shepard says it’s already raised $10,000. Aside from collecting the coins that you put in the meter, sponorships are being sold for each one. That money will be used in the outreach effort as well.
You can get more information on the meter fundraising campaign by going to the Know Outlets website here.