FREDERICTON – New Brunswick parking and transit startup HotSpot is giving Frederictonians a new way to help the homeless and curb panhandling in the downtown core.
HotSpot is best known for their pay-by-phone parking and transit solutions available in cities across Atlantic Canada. Now, users of the HotSpot mobile parking app will now be able to make a donation directly through the mobile app.
“Hotspot is part of the community and we appreciate that we need to do our part to make Fredericton a better place to live. The Kindness Meter functionality is our development team’s way to give back and we’re happy to offer this option as a way to donate and ensure 100 per cent of the donation reaches your local community charities,” says Phillip Curley, CEO of HotSpot, in a release.
Urban core business associations all over North America have struggled with curbing panhandling in business districts, while still recognizing homeless people need to be supported by their communities. “Kindness meters” have been one of the solutions tried in various places.
Downtown Fredericton, the organization representing the businesses in the area, piloted the Kindness Meter initiative three years ago by repurposing six parking meters and placing them throughout the downtown to collect funds for the Fredericton Homeless Shelters and Community Kitchen.
The meters have brought in over $14,000 since the introduction of the program in 2015. These funds have gone directly to supporting the Fredericton Homeless Shelters and Community Kitchen who between them provide over 14,600 bed nights each year and 6,530 meals per month between in-house and outreach programs.
The HotSpot initiative is an innovative approach to broadening the reach of the program.
“The Kindness Meters mean more than people think for us at Fredericton Homeless Shelters,” said Warren Maddox, executive director of the shelters. “They mean we are receiving some important funds to support our critical mission in our city.
“The addition of a new method to show your compassion is a very positive thing. HotSpot is one of those very innovative business ideas to come out of Fredericton. [We are also] committed to creating innovative solutions to everyday issues. This program helps us do exactly that.”