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.