Nashville starts 'Adopt-a-Meter' program to benefit homeless - WKRN News 2

Nashville starts 'Adopt-a-Meter' program to benefit homeless

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Southwest Airlines was the first to join the Adopt-a-Meter program. Southwest Airlines was the first to join the Adopt-a-Meter program.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New blue parking meters soon will be popping up around Nashville.

Mayor Karl Dean announced the launch of the Adopt-a-Meter program in Nashville on Tuesday.

It's an innovative awareness campaign that places specially marked refurbished parking meters throughout the city where people can deposit change and dollar bills that will benefit the city's homeless outreach efforts.

"One of the things I get to do as mayor is to visit other cities to see what they're doing and to steal their best ideas and bring them back here," said Mayor Dean, referencing the new program.

Denver, Colorado started a similar meter program in 2007 and now has 86 meters displayed that generate more than $100,000 for the city annually.

As a bonus, the city has also reduced panhandling.

That's good news for downtown lawyer Pete Rosen.

"If that will get them to stop asking me for money every time I come out of my office at night, I'm all for it," he said.

When asked if it will stop panhandling, officials with non-profit organization The Key Alliance say the issue isn't that simple.

The Alliance also is hopeful that meter donations will be enough to hire a few more workers.

Clifton Harris with The Key Alliance said, "It will give us an opportunity to get a couple more outreach workers out on the street and make significant relationship contacts with those individuals that we can get off the streets and into housing."

Mayor Dean is asking Nashville businesses to sponsor meters for about $1,000 a year.

Businesses who agree to sponsor a meter will have their logo displayed on it.

Each meter will be placed in prominent locations that have a high volume of pedestrian traffic.

Southwest Airlines was the first sponsor for the program, and Piedmont Natural Gas has also agreed to sponsor a meter.

For more information on the program, or to sponsor one of the donation meters, call Laura Jumonville with the Metro Homelessness Commission at 615-780-7014 or visit TheKeyAlliance.org. 

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