The main complaint organizers of the Make a Change meters receive is that the repurposed parking meters get jammed when people put the wrong type of change in them.
The parking meters formerly were used at Wrightsville Beach. There are now eight meters positioned around downtown Wilmington in spots police identified as heavy for panhandling, said Dan Ferrell, strategic director for The 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and Reduce Homelessness in the Cape Fear Region, which started installing the meters in August 2009.
The idea was to discourage panhandling by allowing people to donate through the meters to give to homeless service providers in the area.
Ferrell said the meters are designed to take quarters only and can get jammed when people put nickels, dimes and pennies in them. He said he makes a sweep twice a month to check on the meters and collect money.
Ferrell said if people come across a jammed or non-working meter they can call the United Way of the Cape Fear Area, which manages the initiative, at (910) 798-3900 to report the problem.
Ferrell said the meters program has collected between $400 and $500 since it started with only a few meters. The 10-Year Plan’s board expects to disburse the first allocation from the collections at its final meeting of the budget year in May 2011, Ferrell said.
He said the program is in the midst of promoting the meters’ purpose and locations with posters at downtown businesses.
Date posted: November 16, 2010
User-contributed question by:
T. George Hill