By Edi Birsan, Concord City Council candidate and secretary for Change 4 Real Change:
Change 4 Real Change is a new organization in Concord that is trying to alter the pattern of giving money to panhandlers and the homeless to get the funds into organizations that are working to get people off the streets and onto a different path.
One of the real drivers to the begging is that it has worked. One 'shopping cart' panhandler was found with $1,500 in cash on her. Another said that they are making $800 a week and cannot afford to give up the street panhandling.
There are White donation Jugs all through the retail stores in Concord so that you can direct your spare change there as well as purchase $5 service booklets so that the next time you want to give something to a street panhandler you can give them a coupon that will direct them to transportation, a meal at a service center and other areas that will expose them to service options.
As the cash on the streets dries up the attractiveness of the services will increase. Further the exposure to services offering a path out may catch those that find themselves in those 'windows of opportunity' to get out of the life style they are in. Or to get help on the other drivers of the homelessness and panhandling- addiction, illness and a sense of hopelessness in other directions.
You can get the coupons also at City Hall and for anyone in Concord who tries and cannot find one, send me an email and I will personally deliver a coupon to you- each booklet is $5.Email EdiBirsan@astound.net.
Have you used Change 4 Real Change? What do you think of the program? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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