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Cities pursue innovative strategies to assist homeless

Parking meters that collect donations and data collection via tracking devices are among the ideas being employed in the U.S. and Europe to aid the homeless. (Laurie Avocado/flickr/cc)

Feed the parking meter in Pasadena, California, and you can feed a hungry homeless person.

The city has installed 14 repurposed parking meters painted bright orange that collect donations for the downtrodden, Frank Shyong reports for the Los Angeles Times.

Manwhile, across the Atlantic in Odense, the third largest city in Denmark, a pilot program uses GPS tracking devices to monitor the small homeless population. Feargus O’Sullivan reports for CityLab that the data will help the city decide where to add public benches, coffee rooms and shelters.

Both approaches are controversial. The LA Times notes that Orlando and Denver only generate modest amounts from repurposed meters they installed for the same reason. And some homeless residents and advocates say the meters remove the “human element” from direct charitable giving to the needy.

While the GPS tracking in Odense has overtones of Big Brother, the 20 homeless participants welcome the idea, according to CityLab. But their motivation appears to be influenced by the three free meals a day available to them during the research period. 

Source: 
Los Angeles Times

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