Donation stations look like parking meters, but the money helps homeless people

CINCINNATI -- They may look like parking meters, but some new bright yellow meters around downtown Cincinnati aren't for parking.

They're called "donation stations." There are five of the stations around the Banks, Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. It's a way to confidently give to local homeless people.

3CDC

The project is a collaboration between the city, 3CDC and Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. The meters are located at Fountain Square, Washington Park, 12th and Vine, Sixth and Walnut and on Joe Nuxhall Way at the Banks.

Joe Rudemiller, a 3CDC spokesperson, said the donation stations were put in locations where they don't think people would try to park.

"Whether they're suffering from drug addiction, substance abuse, mental health; those are the goals of the donations that we're raising, to really help anyone on the street who needs it," Rudemiller said.

The meters work like any other meter. Just deposit coins or swipe a credit card.

"I would donate," passerby Natalie McDonald said. "Maybe every time I walk by, to be honest."

Amberly Hooks panhandles Downtown. She said she believes the meter donations can help get her and others off the streets.

"There's a lot of us," she said. "I mean, go down Third Street, Main Street, everywhere. They're sleeping everywhere."

Kevin Finn with Strategies to End Homelessness said street outreach is a key need. That agency will help decide how the money from the donation stations is distributed.

"There's isn't a clear funding source to use to hire people to literally go on the street and under bridges to work with people who are homeless," he said.

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