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Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 11:02am

Macon Weighs Homeless Donation 'Meters'

Macon city councilor Lauren Benedict will file legislation Thursday to create a system of downtown donation boxes for the homeless.

The proposal was developed by Leadership Macon's 2012 class.

Proponent Mechel McKinley says the boxes would offer an alternative to giving to panhandlers.

"People are often offended when they’re approached and asked for money," McKinley said. "And we want to them to have the ability to say, ‘I gave at the meter.'"

McKinley's Leadership Macon classmate Jonathan Dye says the funds raised will help to address the root causes of homelessness.

“The money that’s being raised will directly benefit organizations that are working on transitional housing, substance abuse counseling, job training, all the things that people need to be able to lift themselves out of homelessness,” Dye said.

The proposed boxes look like a parking meters, are resistant to break-in, solar-powered, and can even take credit cards.

Similar systems have been tried in Atlanta and Athens, but Dye says those experiences prove the boxes themselves will not eradicate panhandling.

Only ending homelessness can do that, Dye said.

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