You see them in store parking lots and highway ramps across the Las Vegas valley — homeless people asking for money.
But Clark County wants you to think twice before handing them spare change or food this holiday season.
Instead, they’re working on a more long-term solution. A new website launched Monday by Clark County is hoping to get homeless people off the streets by having citizens donate directly to community organizations.
“We want to show people the most responsible way to give and to help the homeless,” said Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
The website is called meaningfulchangelv.com.
Clark County and Metro Police say donating through the website is better than handing money or food to people on the streets.
It lists several local organizations, such as Catholic Charities and Family Promise, where your donations will go.
“We feel that if they can go to some of our partners that it will be better utilized, and it will get to the community much faster,” Kirkpatrick said.
There are roughly 6,000 people in shelters or on the streets in Clark County.
Community leaders say, by donating through the website instead of directly to the homeless you’re helping them get the resources they so desperately need.
“If they can get money, if they can get clothing, if they can get food, then it makes it very hard for them to come in, get assessed, get some services and we really want to get them off the streets for the long term,” Kirkpatrick said.
“Often times the people you see in the intersections are the most service-resistant individuals, and those are the ones who we work tirelessly to get to the resources so that long-term they can have a place to stay,” said Chief Deputy Chris Jones,LVMPD.
Some people we spoke with say they support this effort because they don’t think many homeless people use donations properly.
“Buy liquor, drugs, they won’t do the life’s necessities like they should do, food, shelter, clothing,” said Ronald Wimberly, visiting Las Vegas.
And others are hoping it’ll just help those in need.
“I try my best if I have a couple dollars here or there, so it sounds like this program, they’ll be able to assist them better,” said Aaron Davis, lives in Las Vegas.