Give Real Change – Public Awareness Campaign

From the City of Minneapolis:

“City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, and Heading Home Hennepin to Launch “Give Real Change” Panhandling Awareness Campaign

Have you been approached by a panhandler?

In response to an increase in panhandling in Minneapolis’ downtown commercial center, a number of partnering organizations-including the City government, Hennepin County, the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District and Heading Home Hennepin: The 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in Minneapolis & Hennepin County-will launch a collaborative public awareness campaign, entitled “Give Real Change.”  The purpose of the campaign is to better educate the citizens of Minneapolis regarding issues of panhandling and homelessness.  It asserts that panhandling is demeaning for everyone involved and negatively affects community livability and local commerce.

“No person wants to panhandle for a living and panhandling is ultimately an ineffective means of escaping poverty for those who do,” said Cathy ten Broeke, the Minneapolis-Hennepin County Coordinator to End Homelessness.  “Giving to people who panhandle does not address the root causes of their poverty, and as a community, we can and must do better.”

Instead of giving to people who panhandle, “Give Real Change” encourages citizens to volunteer their time or donate money to local nonprofit agencies that provide outreach and services to help move people off of the streets and into permanent, stable housing.  As Monica Nilsson, Director of St. Stephens’ Human Services Street Outreach Team often notes, people do not need a handout, they need a hand up.

Posters will be placed throughout the downtown area encouraging people to contribute online at www.giverealchange.org.  Information on how people can be involved in helping to end homelessness will also be provided.

“It’s a win-win if we can help people in a meaningful way and strengthen our business community at the same time,” said Sarah Harris, Chief Operating Officer of the Minneapolis DID.

To learn more, visit www.giverealchange.org and www.headinghomehennepin.org

Contact:  Sarah Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, sharris@minneapolisdid.com , or Cathy ten Broeke, Minneapolis-Hennepin County Coordinator to End Homelessness, Cathy.ten.broeke@co.hennepin.mn.us

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