A new panhandling strategy


Portland business owners have long struggled with panhandlers scaring off customers, and now are looking for a new solution.

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Portland business owners have long struggled with panhandlers scaring off customers, and now are looking for a new solution.

[Property owner Mark] Schlesinger, chairman of the Portland Business Alliance’s central city public safety committee, is working with committee members, interested property owners and businesses to find a different solution.

The committee’s first idea is a project called the spare change program. The group is supplying retailers with old parking meters to decorate and place near checkout stands. Employees then encourage shoppers to place spare change in meters instead of giving it to panhandlers. The money collected is then donated to P:ear, a local nonprofit that helps homeless and transitional youths between the ages of 15 and 24.

“We hope it helps accomplish two things,” Schlesinger said. “We hope it allows people to give money to help homeless youth and know it’s being used for the right things, and we hope that it makes these kids stop panhandling outside the businesses because no one leaving the stores has change.”

Read more at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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