The objective of this initiative is to reduce panhandling throughout the City of San Luis Obispo through implementation of a program that provides an opportunity for the general public to donate and help the homeless in a positive way. The program helps ensure donations are used productively for homeless services rather than enabling behaviors that are destructive to both the individual and the community. Recycled parking meters are repurposed as donation meters throughout the downtown. The City of San Luis Obispo's Make Change Count program was launched in April of 2014.

Direct donations may be submitted through United Way of San Luis Obispo County here.


  • Community Awareness & Coordinated Responses - build community awareness and support for coordinated responses to reduce homelessness.

  • Enhance Public Safety - Improve public safety by reducing the number of program resistant individuals that support their life styles and addictions through panhandling.

  • Services - Provide better access to supportive services that promote long-term stability and improved functioning.


Special Thanks to:

We would like to thank the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors for their $2,250 Community Grant to assist with the implementation of the Donation Station campaign and the Make Change Count program, and a special thanks to Supervisor Gibson - District 2, Supervisor Hill - District 3, and Supervisor Arnold - District 5 for their support.

What have other San Luis Obispo residents said about the program?

“The Directed Giving Campaign and the Change for Change Donations Station program is an example of such a partnership that will raise awareness and provide an immediate alternative to give directly in a meaningful way while simultaneously helping to change the existing culture, which enables destructive behaviors and damages the fabric of our community,” Former Police Chief Steve Gesell

"It has made a difference. People are becoming more aware and provide their funds in a way that's much more helpful to people who are in need and seeking services, as opposed to people who take the money to continue their addiction," Former San Luis Obispo Police Capt. Keith Storton

Information about Panhandling

City of San Luis Obispo Panhandling Ordinances [City Municipal Code (section 9.06.025)]

  • No panhandling within 25 feet of any ATM

  • Within 6 feet of the entrance to a commercial establishment or driveway

  • Within 10 feet of any intersection of city streets or highway off-ramps

  • On any median in any city street

  • On the roadway of any city street