Signs to combat panhandling posted in Colorado Springs

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Sixty-five new signs around Colorado Springs are discouraging people from giving money to panhandlers.

The city of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak United Way officially launched the HelpCOS campaign Thursday. The campaign encourages the community to put their money toward local agencies supporting the homeless, rather than giving it to those on the streets.

All of the donations collected for the campaign will go towards helping organizations like the Springs Rescue Mission and Catholic Charities.

“These nonprofits, by law, are required to track their donations and expenditures,” Mayor John Suthers said. “In other words, when you give to a service provider, you know where your dollars are going.”

The campaign includes signs placed around town that read, “Handouts Don’t Help. Help Local Agencies Provide Services.” They encourage people to text HelpCOS to 667873 or go to the campaign website, which will inform them about several ways to give back to those in need.

A few people who spoke with FOX21 News said the campaign is a good idea.

“I think this will be a better way than just handing them money and not knowing where they go with it,” Mikaila Adame, who lives in Colorado Springs, said.

Others said it’s going to make the struggle of living on the streets a lot harder.

“There’s definitely going to be a pretty even split of people who are very angry and will riot against it, and then there’s other people like me, and I’m just like, ‘Well, we’re going to have to try and figure something else out,'” Daniella Riggio said.

All campaign donations will be directed to a bank account set up by Pikes Peak United Way. They will then be handed over to the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care, which oversees funding for this community to address homelessness and housing for all.

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