Community Bands Together to Clean Up Encampment Near GRIP

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Community volunteers joined the Richmond Mayor’s Office and GRIP to clean up one of the city’s most problematic homeless encampments on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. Photo by Mike Kinney.

Community volunteers joined the Richmond Mayor’s Office and GRIP to clean up one of the city’s most problematic homeless encampments on Thursday, Dec. 27,
2018. Photo by Mike Kinney.

 
The community banded to­gether Thursday to clean up one of the city’s largest homeless encampments located next to the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program’s homeless shelter at 22nd Street near Carlson Boule­vard.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and his office partnered with GRIP and community advocates such as Daniel Barth and An­toine Cloird to coordinate the all-volunteer cleanup effort. BART officials helped clean up the rail­road right of way, Republic Ser­vices lent a large dumpster, and a combined workforce of about 50 community volunteers and GRIP staff got to work removing trash from the site.
McDonald’s gift cards were offered to the homeless individu­als for helping in the effort, May­or Butt said.
“We’re excited about today, that the mayor contacted us here at GRIP and said how can he help,” said Kathleen Sulli­van, GRIP’s executive director. “It’s been very challenging…the neighborhood needs some help. We’re just grateful.”
Community advocate Cloird said the partnership helps to connect homeless individuals with the help they need to estab­lish stable housing.
“We’ve got resources here at GRIP, and we’re going to part­ner with [the homeless], transi­tion them into housing, provide mental resources, substance abuses sources…” Cloird said, adding, “We know that team­work makes the dream work.”
Barth has been calling not just for the site to be cleaned up, but for regular efforts.
“I’ve also asked if the City can maintain a regular twice weekly trash pickup schedule, so that we motivate folks to fill the trash bins and trash bags that the City should provide in order to be proactive along the corridor,” Barth wrote in an email. “I’ve also suggested that these institu­tions leverage dollars to fund a 2-person Green Team of home­less folks who are stipended to keep this corridor clean and im­prove the sanitation practices by folks living there.”
We filled one huge dumpster. Much thanks to Republic Servic­es for the dumpster, Groundwork Richmond for tools and volun­teers, BART for working on the railroad right of way, Daniel Barth and Kathleen Sullivan and the folks from the GRIP Center.

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