Anchorage Cares Initiative
An all-volunteer group dedicated to issues of community safety has introduced the Anchorage Cares program, aimed at reducing panhandling on Anchorage streets. Through Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd, the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.’s Live. Work. Play. initiative, the Municipality of Anchorage, and Anchorage Community Development Authority, the program encourages Anchorage residents to resist the urge of handing money to panhandlers and instead donate directly to homeless service organizations.
Please CLICK HERE to view more information about Anchorage Cares and to view the website.
Panhandling presents a unique public safety hazard, as it draws people into roadways and the direct path of motor vehicles and bicycles. There are many service organizations in the municipality that provide shelter, food, medical care, substance abuse counseling and employment opportunities to homeless individuals, but those individuals often do not seek this help when they are able to receive money directly from the public by panhandling. The goal of Anchorage Cares is to provide locals with a way to donate directly toward critical services.
“A single dollar can do much more to help a struggling individual if it goes to the right organizations rather than directly to a panhandler,” said Mark Mailloux, account manager at the Chariot Group and member of the volunteer-led Live. Work. Play. Community Safety area of focus. “Moreover, handing that dollar through a car window encourages those panhandling to continue what they are doing, denying them needed services and putting them directly in harm’s way. Homelessness is a serious problem in Anchorage that requires a comprehensive look at contributing factors as well as a compassionate way to help those truly struggling.”
Anchorage Cares will launch simultaneous efforts at the municipal level to provide transitional housing for homeless residents and daily employment opportunities through direct outreach. These initiatives will give homeless individuals the tools and resources to get back on their feet, and help Anchorage residents continue their generosity toward those in need. The program will additionally work to educate the public about volunteer and involvement opportunities with organizations dedicated to creating lasting change concerning homelessness in the Anchorage community. Signs, carrying the message “Give Real Change, Not Spare Change,” will be displayed in business storefronts and at major intersections where panhandling occurs. The signs will include the website for the initiative, www.AnchorageCares.org, where Anchorage residents can be connected to existing homeless service programs, learn how to get involved and how to make a donation directly to those agencies.
If you have any questions about more information or how to get involved please contact:
Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd.
333 West 4th Avenue, Suite 317
Anchorage, AK 99501
Tel. (907) 279-5658
Cell (907) 764-6379
Fax (907) 279-5651