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.

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“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:

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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.

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