Homeless donation meters to be installed in downtown Macon
The Leadership Macon Class of 2012 is gearing up to give people a new way to help the homeless.
The yearlong class is a program with the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce. It’s a servant leadership program made of current and up and coming leaders in the community. Back in August, they decided they wanted to combat poverty locally.
"We wanted to do something to help the organizations that are members of the Coalition to End Homelessness,” member of the class, Mechel McKinley said. “To help people lift themselves out of a situation of homelessness and poverty."
The Macon City Council approved the “Power by Change” program in September. Nine donation stations will now be installed various locations around downtown Macon. They look like a parking meter. The money people donate will go to The Macon Coalition to End Homeless (MCEH) which connects the homeless with various agencies and services.
"I think this is going to be a really cutting edge kind of program for us to have here in Macon," McKinley said."We feel like this will bring awareness to the homeless situation here in Macon as well as provide that continuous funding source for them,"
The class hopes to raise about $90,000.
"We do have to cover the capital cost of installing the meters, purchasing them and the actual installation, but we're also putting together a yearlong awareness campaign,” McKinley said.
The campaign will focus on homelessness in downtown through a roughly $40,000 media blitz. The installation of the meters will run about $9,000 and any left over money will go towards the initial foundation fund. Organizations that are part of MCEH can apply to receive money from the fund for services and activities they currently provide to the homeless. The money will be granted out bi-annually by a sub-committee of the Urban Development Authority. McKinley said the class is hoping community donations and corporate sponsorships will help fund the grant.
While this program is new for Macon, McKinley said they've consulted other cities where the donation stations have worked.
"Other communities that we've looked at raised anywhere from several thousand dollars,” she said. “Denver (raised) $100,000."
However, McKinley said it’s not just about the money.
"It's about awareness of homelessness and how people can help," she said.
Poles will be installed next week. The actual meters should be placed by October 30. The meters should be up and running by November 15 to correlate with the class’s kickoff event.