Baltimore City launches innovative effort to address community blight.
Last week Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced the City’s Clean Corps initiative to hire community members as part of the City’s strategy to improve its capacity to clean and maintain public spaces in historically disinvested neighborhoods throughout Baltimore.
Under this initiative, Mayor Scott is investing $14.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to partner with community and citywide organizations to hire Baltimore residents to remove debris from alleys, public trash cans, and overgrown, trash-filled vacant lots in up to 15 selected neighborhoods.
According to the press release:
“This program is a great example of the City leveraging ARPA funding to produce the greatest possible impact for our residents,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Everyone deserves to live in a clean and healthy community and with Clean Corps we are actively expanding our capacity to maintain neighborhoods and proactively address blighted spaces, all while providing meaningful employment for residents in our communities.”
The program combines workforce development, equity and empowering community-led efforts. The Baltimore Civic Fund will issue a Request for Applications later this month to community-based and citywide organizations to partner with neighborhoods to hire Baltimore residents for Clean Corps. During this two-and-a-half-year program, those hired as part of the initiative will earn $15 per hour for the duration of their employment.
Grantees will work with neighborhoods with the highest number of service request calls for boarding, trash, and high grass and weeds; highest decrease in population; highest number of privately-owned vacant lots; and other factors.
The City hopes to leverage this investment to secure additional funding sources to continue the Clean Corps initiative beyond the initial two-and-a-half-year period and expand the program to additional neighborhoods.