Officials unveil meters where citizens can donate to homeless

Monday, September 13, 2010 at 12:08pm
Staff reports
Mayor Karl Dean and Key Alliance Director Clifton Harris drop the first coins in a parking meter to help homeless.

Nashvillians now have a new way to give change to the homeless.

Change dropped into any one of 30 specially marked meters around Nashville will go to homeless outreach efforts through the city’s new Adopt A Meter campaign, an awareness and fundraising effort coordinated by the Metro Homelessness Commission’s Key Alliance.

Money donated through the meter program would be earmarked for the city’s chronically homeless in an ongoing effort to connect them with housing and services.

Metro Public Works donated the first 30 meters and will help install them in high foot-traffic areas.

Mayor Karl Dean unveiled the first donation meter Monday.

“Homelessness is not a government issue. It’s not a nonprofit issue. Homelessness is a community issue. And when we all work together, we can reduce homelessness in our city,” Dean said. “Outreach workers are an important part of that equation. They build relationships with individuals and connect them to not only housing, but the services they need to permanently transition out of homelessness.”

Nashville’s Adopt A Meter program follows the lead of similar programs in San Francisco and Denver. Clifton Harris, executive director of the Key Alliance, said Denver’s program has generated more than $100,000 annually since it began in 2007. 

Harris said Nashville’s program would begin with 30 meters, each one sponsored by a company or organization for $1,000 a year. Southwest Airlines was the first company to sponsor a meter and will attach an art piece created by Ken Smith, one of the airline’s employees, to the meter.

Harris said Nashville now has 12 full-time outreach workers for an estimated 4,000 individuals who are homeless on any given night. The alliance’s last “point-in-time count” estimated about 1,250 chronically homeless people in Nashville.


The program’s first meters will be at Bridgestone Arena, Hard Rock Café, the Nashville Convention Center, the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Nashville Public Square, and Metro Courthouse and City Hall at James Robertson Boulevard.

Sponsors for those locations are John E. Mayfield Charitable Foundation, Kraft CPA’s, First Bank Online, Bone McAllester Norton, and Sherwin Williams. 


6 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 9/13/10 at 2:27

I feel warm and fuzzy and...and...and I just felt my standard of living go up.

I HEART SYMBOLISM! I will take it over substance any day.

By: Walter Sobchak on 9/13/10 at 2:49


It's obvious that you are one of the most miserably unhappy people I've ever encountered. You spew negativity and your glass half-empty rants make you nearly intolerable. Your poor, poor family.

By: JeffF on 9/13/10 at 3:20

My family and I are quite happy. Since we live outside of downtown Dean has forgotten about us so we can live life to the fullest. Just wish my people in downtown could have the same feeling. Life without counter intuitive, feel good, or expensive government intervention.

If you don't think all of Nashville deserves the same attention from our elected officials as downtown gets that makes YOU the pessimist. Nashville would still succeed even if downtown burned to the ground. An optimist can say that. All of Nashville deserves the Mayor's love and attention even when there is no election coming up.

Even then, a photo-op for the mayor to stand next to a meter that will collect a few cents per month and otherwise act as a sad public arts project is a prime example of a man with nothing to contribute to society. He could have given more money by giving the taxpayer money he paid MP&F to publicize his greatness over the last three years. I will guarantee MP&F probably had at least 3-5 people there overseeing this "event".

By: slacker on 9/13/10 at 4:16

I'll be telling the panhandlers that I gave at the meter.

By: NewYorker1 on 9/14/10 at 8:16

I have completely stopped donating to charities. I finally realized that the amount of local and federal taxes that I pay every year is enough and well beyond what I get in return from our beloved governments.

By: border collie on 9/15/10 at 2:10

I wil continue to buy them a combo at the fast food restaurant if they are nearby when i stop or hand them a coat or pack of cigs out the window....that money will never be seen by the homeless...just PR