I met with OG Man this afternoon to go on a stroll with him in the neighborhood to check on the progress of both Operation Healthy Streets (the City) AND Operation Face-Lift (the Community). My opinion is that the City and the Community are at long last beginning a fruitful dialog that has already lead to many positive improvements on the street level and I am sure will lead to many more. Overall, the streets are cleaner than they were just 6 months ago.
We have some new City trash cans placed around Skid Row and they seem to be in good spots, with people slowly noticing them and using them. The design is a good one for the neighborhood. I have yet to see any tipped over or lit on fire (which tends to happen here, but less so these days). I am aware the LAPD are working with the City to monitor these trash receptacles. So far, so good. They are helping alleviate some of the trash that used to wind up on the ground. We need more though.
Both OG and I think that one of the places they are needed the most in Skid Row is on the 6th St. side of the Midnight Mission– where trash on the ground seems to be a constant, 24/7. I have seen their workers clean up here in the mornings, so I know they do put in some effort, but it is not nearly enough considering the hordes of people who constantly flow in and out of this facility and the relentless trash that builds up around this building. We think 3 trash cans here are what is needed.
On to Operation Face-Lift news. A volunteer named Steve, who has been sweeping for over 8 months on San Julian Street, has branched off to form his own sweeping crew, which now partners closely with Operation Face-Lift. Steve has a large network of Church groups which he works with and has inspired many local Skid Row residents to sweep too. Here is his website (http://www.skidrowcleanup.com/) if you would like to ask him about his experiences or get involved with his “crew”.
When we walked up San Pedro Street, we were pleasantly surprised to see someone using an Operation Face-Lift donated broom sweeping up as we walked by. This made us both smile.
OG and I also took some time to speak with some people feeding on the sidewalks and to pass out some information about our new “Feed ‘N Clean” campaign in the hopes that they will visit out Facebook page and get on board with our efforts to get people who come to Skid Row to help, to consider cleaning up too. On San Julian Street today, I saw a perfetly good box of healthy and ripe fruit that someone must have just dropped off before driving away. This is what happens when well-intentioned people come into our neighborhood and don’t stick around after they dump food and clothing off in the streets. What a waste.