Houston Kicks Off New Campaign Against Panhandling

The city of Houston has launched a new multi-media effort aimed to steer residents away from handing out money to panhandlers on the street. 

The "Meaningful Change - Not Spare Change" campaign will use billboards by Clear Channel Outdoor and ads on iHeart Radio to encourage citizens to donate directly to "The Way Home" initiative to house the city's homeless.

“Through this campaign we are encouraging Houstonians to redirect their money from giving change on the streets to making meaningful change through organizations that are working directly with the homeless,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday.

“This is not a campaign we are waging against the homeless,” he added.  “This is a campaign to assist people who are most vulnerable, to help them get into a better place in their lives.”

New city ordinances go into effect later this week that discourages the homeless from panhandling in intersections and on public sidewalks.

“We definitely know that some panhandlers are homeless, but we also know that a lot of panhandlers are not homeless,” said Marc Eichenbaum, special assistant to the mayor for homeless initiatives.  “There have been some cases of organized panhandling in the northeast sections of Houston as well as West Houston.”

“By giving through 'Meaningful Change' you know where your funds are going, you know they're going to be used for accountable purposes and for the purposes of getting people off the steets.”

Photos courtesy of Houston Mayor's Office.

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