Council OKs $300K appropriation to assist homeless, panhandling population

A proposal to spend $300,000 on services to assist the city’s homeless and panhandling population unanimously passed the City-County Council on Monday night.

The funds will allow the city to start a pilot job program for would-be panhandlers, offering work on projects such as graffiti abatement, downtown cleanup or beautification. 

It also will provide wraparound support for 50 people who will soon be housed with rental assistance vouchers the city has received and give so-called “barrier-busting funds” to help people regain housing.

That could include funding for past-due utility bills, security deposits, work uniforms or supplies to help a person maintain or gain employment.

The appropriation will be taken from revenue that is expected to be generated by a recently passed expansion of the city’s parking meter program, which will now impose parking fees for longer hours each day.

Several advocates for the homeless community attended the council meeting to express support for the proposal. 

Leslie Kelly, program director for Horizon House, said the funding was “vital to providers in the city of Indianapolis so we can ensure our neighbors are housed and remain housed.”

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