Pasadena drivers are used to feeding the meter to secure a parking place, but now people—pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike—can feed a meter and help end homelessness. The Real Change Movement puts bright orange meters decorated with yellow happy faces in public places which collect change and credit transactions to provide homes for the homeless in Pasadena. The first meter was unveiled last week at Fuller Theological Seminary at 180 N. Oakland Ave. and more will be added throughout the city.
The Real Change Movement is the first initiative of its kind within Los Angeles County. It includes a public outreach campaign that tells residents, merchants and visitors about the movement and raises awareness about homelessness. For decades, Pasadena and homeless advocates throughout the city have been encouraging people not to give money to panhandlers, but to support local non-profits that provide real assistance instead. Real Change meters make it easy.
The movement is a collaborative effort involving the City of Pasadena, Flintridge Center, Business Improvement Districts, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Art Center College of Design, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and East West Bank. Art Center students were involved with the project from the beginning. They came up with the idea and campaign strategy and designed the logo and color scheme. The Pasadena In Focus newsletter for July and August, 2014 reported, “The students wanted to inspire the community to think about happiness in a more socially active way and to view the act of giving as an uplifting, positive experience.”