A Better Way To Give



Downtown BIZ’s Change for the Better Program Campaigns to End Panhandling and Supports Homeless Employment Programs

Downtown Winnipeg – Panhandling: Where will your money go? A hot meal? Warm clothes? Shelter? Drugs? Alcohol? Cigarettes? Stop guessing – the Downtown BIZ on June 25 outside on Graham Avenue at Donald Street, launched its new anti-panhandling campaign encouraging Winnipeggers to refrain from giving spare change to panhandlers, but instead to give to programs that provide skills, training and employment, through programs like Change for the Better.

“Panhandling and homelessness remain visible realities on the streets of our downtown and our city,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown BIZ. “We want our downtown community to be proactive – when you know the right way to help those living on the streets; you’re contributing to positive, lasting change.”

This week, downtown residents, office workers and visitors will see Downtown BIZ Watch ambassadors stationed at kiosks located on downtown sidewalks to raise awareness and donations for Change for the Better. Watch for them Monday to Friday on Portage and Graham from 11:30-1:30pm and 3:30-5:00pm, communicating with the public the importance of giving to panhandlers the right way, by supporting social agencies that provide homeless employment.

This launch will also include posters in business windows, brochures, bus shelter ads, billboards, street level ads and TV ads. The campaign will run throughout the summer, leading up to the Downtown BIZ’s 2nd annual Change for the Better CEO Sleepout, which raised over $100,000 last year – funds that were granted to Siloam Mission, Graffiti Art Programming, and Red Road Lodge – organizations that are now providing homeless (or those at-risk of becoming homeless) with meaningful employment downtown, in addition to essential quality of life supports.

“The missing link in true transition from the streets to self-sufficiency is housing and stable employment. People need jobs that increase confidence and self-esteem, and help them reach their full capacity,” said Floyd Perras, Executive Director of Siloam Mission. “Siloam’s growing MOST program allows participants to earn a fair wage, surrounds them with a support system of accountability and helps them become more productive members of Winnipeg by going out and beautifying the downtown area every day. It changes lives.”

Change for the Better helps homeless people get off the street into permanent paid employment and a healthier environment. Since 1992, over $235,000 has been raised and 100% of all donations go to homeless employment programs.

Donating to Change for the Better can be done in three easy ways:

1.Online at www.changeforthebetter.org
2.Cheque or money order to “Downtown BIZ – Change for the Better” and mailed to: Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, 426 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0C9.
3.Collection boxes at participating venues downtown

Special thanks to Change for the Better sponsors: City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Police Service, the MLCC, Guppy Design, Lea Marc, FNP Parking and Vantage Studios.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Jason Syvixay, Public Relations Coordinator
Tel: (204) 958-4635; Cell: 997-3040