Friday, January 11, 2008

Update on Kindness Meters

This is something I posted about previously being mentioned again in the Ottawa Sun. I'm still surprised at how successful these turn out to be.

It appears Ottawa is trying hard to be kind to its homeless.

Oh no! Will this affect our rudeness rating?! ;-)

Only a month after the city announced it was going to install six kindness meters in the Byward Market to help raise money for Ottawa's homeless community passersby have deposited $1,000 into the meters.

"That's impressive," said Rideau-Vanier Coun. Georges Bedard. "Obviously it's caught on and demonstrates the generosity of the people of Ottawa."

The meters were the idea of Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien, who in the 2006 municipal election criticized the homeless community and those who panhandled. He asked people to stop giving panhandlers money and instead give to the organizations that provide services to the homeless because many of the individuals were using the money to buys drugs and alcohol.

"This is a good beginning," O'Brien said after learning of the amount donated to the meters over the past four weeks.

Bedard said because of the obvious success of the program he would like the city to consider installing more kindness meters in the downtown core as well as possibly elsewhere across the city.

"This is $1,000 that won't go towards drug use," he said.

Bedard said he was surprised with the amount deposited to date because there has been very little advertising towards the project.

The mayor's office said yesterday that they have had several inquiries from legal firms and local media outlets interested in sponsoring the meters.


The money collected will be handed over to organizations such as the Ottawa Mission and Operation Go Home.

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