Without access to other options, Macon’s homeless population has been negatively impacted by the change shortage.
Many stores have stopped accepting cash payments because of a recent nationwide shortage in coins. These stores instead require shoppers without exact change to use debit or credit cards to make their payments or round up their purchase.
“The coin shortage acts as an extra tax on the homeless,” Said Sydney Campbell, who works at Daybreak, which is a day time resource center for the homeless.
Campbell said that the coin shortage negatively impacts the homeless community because people who are homeless are less likely to have their own debit cards, checks, or food stamps and often rely on cash to buy things
Because of this, many homeless people have been forced to “round up” their payments if they do not have exact change.
This “extra tax” has left many worried about how they will be able to afford their next meals, especially in the case of places that do not offer an option of rounding their purchase up.
Campbell said that one solution to this problem would be for people to hand out gift cards. That way, those who need to purchase food but don’t have access to a debit or credit card can still do so.
“Gift cards are a great way to ensure that the homeless are able to use what you give them,” Campbell said.
These gift cards can be to places like grocery stores, gas stations or restaurants. They could even be just plain visa gift cards, which are accepted at most major retailers.
For those who wish to help Macon’s homeless population in light of COVID-19, Campbell said that Daybreak is in need of volunteers. More information about the center can be found at their website: depaulusa.org.