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Man Parks Bed On SF Haight Street For Homeless Youth Fundraiser

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - A 29-year-old advertising student is using a bit of street theater in San Francisco's iconic Haight-Ashbury district to bring attention to the plight of homeless youth in the city.

Bennett Austin parked a twin-sized bed at a metered parking space on Haight Street Monday, offering a place to rest to teenagers targeted by San Francisco's sit-lie ordinance.

"I researched a lot of laws. I couldn't find anything saying that what's in a parking space necessarily has to be a vehicle," said Austin.

The display invited passers-by to donate to help raise money for a homeless youth shelter. The Keep the Meter Running campaign pulled in $600 on its first day.

KCBS' Susan Kennedy Reports:

The money will be donated to Homeless Youth Alliance, a non-profit that offers kids a place to relax, something to eat, a chance to visit a doctor, and a free shower.

"It's creative and it's eye-catching and it's friendly," said Alli Reed, development director at an organization that's lost nearly one-third of its funding this year.

Reed said the unusual campaign is a unique counter point to the sometimes charged debate over whether San Francisco police have all the tools they need to control loitering and panhandling in the Haight Ashbury.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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