SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — When in Downtown Savannah, you may notice some new signs that say “Panhandling will stop when you give change that counts. Donate to local day centers that provide resources to those in need.”
The QR code on the signs takes you to the Give Change that Counts website. There, you can donate and learn more about the initiative.
Jennifer Dulong, executive director of Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, says this initiative is more about education and public safety.
“We’re trying to be very clear on the messaging in that. This is a public education initiative. This is about our community understanding why some people may choose to panhandle,” Dulong says. “We all recognize that panhandling can become aggressive and creates public safety issues.”
Union Mission President and CEO Michael Traynor says their programs help get people off the streets, identify their needs, and give them resources.
“We have a very strong success rate here at Union Mission,” Traynor says. “We are able to get people to housing by doing all the things that help them get there… like getting a job, finding out what their skills are, getting them placed, or noticing that they have mental health needs.”
The initiative is not meant to discourage anyone from giving to panhandlers, but it gives the public an opportunity to support day centers that help them.
The initiative launches on Sept. 12.