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Spare Change for Real Change Program

Downtowns across the country are affected by social issues like homelessness, panhandling and others. The ADA works with area nonprofits as well as the city to address these concerns and provide resources and support to both those affected and the agencies that support them.

The Asheville Downtown Association Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the ADA, created the Spare Change for Real Change Program as a way to discourage panhandling and encourage support of agencies that offer real help to people in need. Panhandling was made illegal in Asheville by City Ordinance 3023. Responding to a panhandling request may seem helpful, but it may actually result in court dates for someone already facing a multitude of charges.

How does Spare Change for Real Change work? Donation boxes are located throughout Downtown Asheville offering an easy way to give without supporting panhandling. Local business owners and organizations match the funds raised throughout the year, and the money is awarded in grants to agencies working to end homelessness in our community. Recent grant recipients include Homeward Bound, Salvation Army, and Western Carolina Rescue Ministries.

We also produce the Real Help Guide, a list of service providers and resources where people can get Real Help. Guides are available at the Asheville Downtown Association office at 29 Haywood Street. Contact us to learn more about becoming a matching funds sponsor of the Spare Change for Real Change program.

The ADA and Foundation also support the work of the City of Asheville’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. Learn more about that initiative here.