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. 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. There’s a map app on the website to find the one closest to you.
The Real Change Movement was 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. The movement is a collaborative effort involving the City of Pasadena, Flintridge Center, County of Los Angeles, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, East West Bank, IPS Group, Pasadena City College, Art Center College of Design, and Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.
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.”