Philadelphia 24/7 Cleaning Program Aims to Take Back Neighborhood

Around-the-clock cleaning hopes to do much more than just clean.

October 24, 2023

A new 24-hour cleaning program in a Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood is looking to help not only with the area’s cleanliness but also its drug addiction, homelessness, and mental health issues, KYW-TV reports.

Councilmember Quetcy Lozada has initiated the year-long, around-the-clock cleaning program in the neighborhood, known locally as the Kensington Business Corridor and reportedly suffering from a severe drug program.

Patrice Rogers runs the nonprofit Stop the Risk, an organization that offers those in the Kensington neighborhood temporary housing, along with keeping its sidewalks clean. She told KYW that the situation in Kensington is “traumatizing.”

“To live in a community like this and have to see feces, trash, and people that’s facing opioid addiction, it’s hard to grasp days like that,” Rogers said.

“This community deserves a better, cleaner, safer neighborhood to raise their families,” Lozada told KYW. The pilot program she proposed is described as a “collaborative mission,” involving multiple city departments, including Philadelphia’s various sanitation divisions and its rapid transit system, as well as its police and fire departments. Between all of the departments, the time spent cleaning Kensington has increased to a full 24 hours.

According to pilot program’s recently released fact sheet, since the operation began in early September, the sanitation crews had picked up more than 100 tons of trash from the neighborhood, including an area surrounding local schools and a library.

Philadephia’s 24th Police District has increased personnel on Kensington Avenue, which runs through the community, to ensure the safety of the cleaning crews. The police department’s Opioid Response Unit is stationed during the day to assist in disposing of syringes and other hazardous waste, as well as providing outreach for recovery service to people suffering from addiction.

On October 19, the Philadelphia Fire Department begun engaging with Lozada’s office to plan strategies to prevent and contain fires set up at encampments, which have caused damage to sidewalks and buildings in the neighborhood.

In the fact sheet, Lozada stated, “Kensington Avenue is the heart and soul of a historic neighborhood that families and businesses call home. We need to be proud of this community and to treat its streets with respect and care.”

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