Volunteers, city agencies remove needles, help homeless in effort to clean up Kensington

Dan Wing
November 01, 2018 - 3:48 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Several city agencies and groups of volunteers from the community teamed up for a massive cleaning project in Kensington Thursday morning. 

Led by the city's Community Life Improvement Program, the group set up shop near the Kensington and Allegheny SEPTA station, where volunteers and city workers like Nolan Lawrence worked their way out a few blocks in each direction.

"Cleaning up vacant lots, picking up needles, offering services to the homeless population in the encampments, and really trying to not only clean the area for today but also maintain a presence here and try to keep the cleanup sustainable for the foreseeable future," said Lawrence.

Needle disposal points were also being installed, he said, which look like a red version of the city's recycling bins. 

Homeless people and people in active addiction were welcome to volunteer as well, in exchange for a hot meal and opportunities to seek treatment. 

While there hasn't been any cleanup as large as this one planned, organizers say they will try to arrange more smaller scale ones. They're also encouraging residents of the area to organize their own with the help of city agencies for things such as needle disposal. 

The city hopes cleaning up an area that is the epicenter of the city's opioid crisis will have ripple effects throughout Philadelphia.