ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) - Ann Arbor has kicked off a bold public awareness campaign aimed at cracking down on public panhandlers.
The message: “Want to really help? You don’t want your $$ to support a drug or alcohol habit! Ann Arbor has services for homeless individuals and people with addictions. Make sure your money works toward a solution!”
The campaign is aimed at thwarting aggressive panhandling and other issues facing the downtown area in the community about 35 miles west-southwest of Detroit.
Susan Pollay, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority and member of the outreach task force, told AnnArbor.com the goal is “positive” and encourages people to direct donations “to the agencies that are in need of support and in need of assistance.”
Pollay said the campaign attempts to discourage people from giving money directly to panhandlers because it’s not likely the money will be used for rent or helpful services.
Posters and small informational cards are being distributed this month at downtown area businesses. Materials include information about services available to homeless individuals and people with addictions.
The task force also launched a website — annarborrealhelp.org — as a portal to local nonprofit human service agencies.
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