To Avoid Panhandling, Cincinnati Launches Donation Stations For Homelessness Agencies
There are now five donation stations in downtown Cincinnati where people can give money to help the homeless population.
The city, along with Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated (DCI) and 3CDC, are partnering for the effort.
Donation stations are re-purposed large yellow parking meters that can accept coins or credit card donations. The funds collected will be given to various agencies to aid those in need on the streets.
Donations stations are located near Fountain Square, Washington Park, the 12th and Vine parking lot, 6th Street near the Contemporary Arts Center, and The Banks.
They're part of a broader strategy to deal with panhandling in the city’s Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine.
Harry Black, the city manager, wrote in a June memo that in the last year complaints have increased about aggressive and concentrated panhandling, especially near Fountain Square.
"The city is limited in what it may pursue related to dealing with panhandling through traditional legislative and law enforcement strategies," Black wrote. "Restrictive panhandling statutes in other jurisdictions have been struck down due to First Amendment challenges."
Columbus recently stopped enforcing its panhandling law, and statutes were repealed in Akron, Dayton and Toledo.
Other parts of Cincinnati's effort include off-duty police details in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine for general safety, and communicating with residents and visitors that it's better to make donations to social services agencies rather than directly to panhandlers.