Homeless vouchers in Oklahoma City go unused

Monday, December 26th 2005, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Planners of a program that permits business people to give panhandlers a free bus ride to a shelter instead of cash may be keeping money away from panhandlers who often don't need it.

Rick Cain, Oklahoma City's transit director, says the voucher program has been used by the homeless about 20 times since it started two months ago. Planners of the ``Real Change, Not Spare Change'' program say about four-thousand vouchers have been distributed.

Dan Straughan, director of the sponsoring Homeless Alliance, says officials expected all along that most panhandlers are not genuinely seeking help.

Tickets that were bought and handed out, but not used by panhandlers, essentially become a donation to the Homeless Alliance, an umbrella advocacy group combating homelessness.