The City of Pasadena will convert more than a dozen parking meters into repositories for donations to the homeless as part of a homless advocacy pilot program.

The initiative was initially spearheaded by students at the Art Center College of Design and funded through various grants. While it has only involved two meters so far, it has already raised about $270 over the past several weeks for nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless. That figure is expected to grow, with 14 additional meters scheduled to be repurposed for charitable use.

The new system, which is the first in L.A. County, is being billed as a more prudent substitute for panhandling.

"This is a clear alternative where people contributing know that all the money will go to effective services," said Pasadena Housing Director Bill Huang.

Huang cited a survey showing that 44 percent of panhandlers in San Francisco used the change they received to buy drugs or alcohol. This way, he says, individuals can be sure their donations are going to a good cause, providing food, shelter, and other basic necessities.

A similar program in Denver, Colorado has been wildly successful, raising more than $30,000 annually in donations. A smaller one in Downtown San Diego generates about $3,600 a year.

Read more about Pasadena’s repurposed meter program here