Senator Art Haywood

Philadelphia, PAMarch 26, 2024 − Mt. Airy CDC is excited to announce Safe Steps Northwest, a groundbreaking initiative funded by an $818,000 grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Violence Intervention & Prevention program. Safe Steps Northwest will empower neighborhoods in Northwest Philadelphia to achieve a cleaner, safer, and stronger future together. In partnership with State Senator Art Haywood (D-4) and powered by the social enterprise street-cleaning business Glitter, the project tackles the interconnected challenges of litter and violent crime through meaningful engagement with neighbors on more than 300 Germantown and Mt. Airy blocks, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.

Rooted in evidence-based research that cleaner blocks are safer blocks, this initiative addresses gun violence prevention through a holistic approach of effective and accountable litter cleaning, proactive community engagement, and living wage job creation, prioritizing hiring those impacted by the justice system.

After a successful summer 2022 block cleaning pilot project in the same neighborhoods, Mt. Airy CDC applied for and was awarded the $818,000 competitive grant from the PCCD-VIP program. Mt. Airy CDC has selected Glitter to carry out the scope of work due to its successful track record of transforming neighborhoods via its unique model of engagement and service delivery.

Five months of weekly cleaning will begin in June 2024 across 335 identified blocks that have experienced recent gun violence. Additional funding supports neighbor outreach, community partnerships, impact evaluation, and 5 months of subsidies to make ongoing cleaning services affordable for every block beyond the grant period.

State Senator Art Haywood (D-4, Montgomery & Philadelphia County), a longtime leader in gun violence reduction efforts, has been a strong supporter of using block cleaning and community engagement to promote neighborhood safety. This project builds upon existing efforts coordinated with Sen. Haywood’s office that bring needed resources and positive opportunities to areas where violent crimes have occurred.

Senator Art Haywood said, “When we see beauty around us, it is easier to see beauty within us. It is part of a winning formula for bettering our communities. I want to especially thank the community members who stepped up for the successful pilot program. We are winners with clean blocks, local jobs, and an engaged community.”

Safe Steps Northwest is an innovative data-driven approach to public-private partnerships and community based solution-building. The initiative sets a new standard for how communities can come together to solve persistent quality-of-life challenges. Building on Glitter’s model, which emphasizes effectiveness, accountability, and neighbor participation—residents and businesses are invited to come together to sustain the impact beyond the grant, ensuring long-term impact and community ownership.

Beyond cleaning streets, Safe Steps Northwest opens the door to economic opportunity, especially for those impacted by the justice system. By offering living wage jobs, the initiative marks a significant step towards community recovery and empowerment for cleaners hired through this program.

This initiative officially launches today with a project announcement and funding check presentation from Senator Art Haywood to Mt Airy CDC and Glitter, marking the beginning of a transformative journey for Northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods.