In 2018, Mayor Greg Mengarelli and the Prescott City Council began the “Change for the Better” initiative to alleviate homelessness and panhandling in the city. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from the community and this support has provided aid to local non-profits and individuals. The following is a summary of the initiative’s progress:
– Completed a marketing campaign to encourage residents and visitors to donate to the “Change for the Better” initiative and to raise awareness of its goals.
– Installed 7 collection meters around the downtown to accept loose change and cash, which encourage people to donate without giving money on the street.
– $2,700 has been raised through online donations and the downtown donation meters. The money raised is funding a grant process for local service providers to further supply transportation and housing needs to help prevent or alleviate homelessness. $750 of grants has been distributed to local non-profits for these purposes.
– Began a partnership with the Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ) on a work program entitled, “Workers Progress Agency” to provide opportunities for those who choose to work rather than panhandle. This has supplied several people with part-time work at minimum wage to help them get off of the street. Initially this was funded by grants from the City and United Way and the program is currently enhancing private work to do yard and property maintenance, cleaning, etc.
– Installed signs at many key locations throughout the city and implemented features on downtown benches and street corners to discourage panhandling in certain areas.
To see frequent updates, resources, online donations, grant applications for non-profits and more, please visit the City’s website at bazooka.prescott-az.gov and search “homelessness initiative” in the search bar.