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Officials ask that informational cards be given to homeless instead of cash

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Honolulu city officials are asking residents to give panhandlers a special business card instead of cash.

The cards were made by the city to give panhandlers contact information for agencies that can help them find housing, Hawaii News Now reported.

The cards read “Need Housing?” on the front and list the phone numbers for Aloha United Way, Honolulu Office of Housing and the statewide homeless help line on the back.

The cards are a quick and simple alternative to giving panhandlers cash, which can enable people to continue living on the streets instead of seeking help, said Marc Alexander, head of the mayor’s Office of Housing.

“We know the community wants to help, and we want to give people an easy way that’s also effective to get the word out about services,” he said.

The program launched in December.

The 15,000 business cards cost the city $400 to make.

The cards are being handed out by police officers, medics and some homeless service providers.

City officials plan to distribute the cards to neighborhood boards across Oahu in the coming months. People interested in getting the cards beforehand can find them at Honolulu Hale.

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