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updated: Jun 05, 2010, 10:20 AM
Each year, an estimated $600,000 is given by the public to panhandlers in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, much of this money ends up enabling destructive cycles of addiction rather than providing food or shelter.
The "Real Change, Not Spare Change" campaign aims to help the public understand the root causes of homelessness and change the behavior of those who give to the homeless.
As an alternative to giving cash directly to panhandlers, supporting Real Change will fund critical street outreach programs to connect those in need with local services that feed, shelter and help rebuild lives.
Street outreach has been shown to be the critical link to connect the homeless, and those at risk for homelessness, with existing local services.
All funds raised will be managed by Casa Esperanza Homeless Center which will also lead the street outreach effort. Donations can be made:
* Through a mobile giving option - donate $5 by texting "ChangeSB" to 8-5-9-4-4.
* Countertop and workplace donation boxes at local businesses and community organizations located Downtown, the Waterfront and Milpas Street areas and throughout the Santa Barbara area.
* Through www.realchangesb.org website
* Businesses and Community organizations are invited to participate! Information and materials are available through the website at www.realchangesb.org or call (805) 962-2098, ext 25.
Real Change, Not Spare Change is a comprehensive education effort. The goals of the Campaign are to:
- Educate residents and visitors about the negative cycle of giving panhandlers.
- Change the behavior of those who give to panhandlers.
- Change the behavior and attitude of those who avoid downtown because of panhandlers.
- Redirect the generosity of individuals to fund street outreach serves very low income people in crisis.
There are many ways for individuals, families and organizations to get involved, from financial donations, to volunteering in the community. Your participation is the key to the positive cycle of change! Find out more at www.realchangesb.org.
Real Change, Not Spare Change is related to an ordinance passed by the City of Santa Barbara as part of its Strategies to Address Community Issues Related to Homelessness in the City of Santa Barbara (also known as the 12 Point Plan), approved by the City Council in February 2009. The campaign was launched in April.
The campaign is funded by the City Redevelopment Agency and managed by the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.
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