PHILADELPHIA – City officials joined local residents at McPherson Square Library this evening to provide community members with an update on the progress of the Philadelphia Resilience Project, the City’s emergency response to combat the opioid epidemic in Kensington and surrounding neighborhoods.
For the last ten weeks, representatives of more than 30 City departments, offices, and agencies have collaborated daily to achieve seven primary goals outlined in Mayor Kenney’s Opioid Emergency Response Executive Order 3-18, which is scheduled to end on December 31, 2018.
At the monthly meeting with Kensington residents, the Administration highlighted some of the key accomplishments achieved through the Philadelphia Resilience Project so far:
- Cleared Frankford Avenue encampment and helped all individuals residing in the Kensington Navigation Center create housing plans.
- Sent 3,000 letters to property owners to prevent unsafe squatting and the formation of new encampments on vacant properties and in the public right-of-way
- Increased safety for children using foot and bike patrols and daily school checks
- Created Safe Corridor routes for travel to and from two public schools with plans to expand to additional schools
- Implemented Police Assisted Diversion (PAD) program in East Police Division that has had seven referrals to date.
- Installing brighter lighting at the Market-Frankford El this week
- Conducted two large-scale community clean-ups spanning 120 blocks
- Placed seven disposal containers at McPherson Square and SEPTA stations, and established the KIND initiative (Kensington Initiative for Needle Disposal) that has removed approximately 2,000 discarded needles from the streets
- Recruited volunteers, including individuals with lived experience, to assist with regular cleaning
- Prevented transmission of HIV and Hepatitis by screening, vaccinating, and linking people to medical care
- Increased distribution of naloxone (Narcan) and related training implemented by many community partners
- Deployed mobile outreach team including medical professionals to provide Medication Assisted Treatment
- Created specialized Philly311 unit for Kensington/Fairhill information and assignments that fielded over 3,000 calls
- Established and convened a Community Advisory Committee to help guide and inform the project
After the presentation, Brian Abernathy, First Deputy Managing Director, requested that Mayor Kenney extend the original executive order beyond December 31 so individuals involved in the emergency response can continue their extensive work across seven mission areas.
“I am pleased with the progress the Philadelphia Resilience Project has made so far and I agree to extend the executive order through June 30, 2019,” said Mayor Kenney. “The opioid epidemic was not created overnight and it will not be solved overnight, but I’m confident that this new approach is working. I look forward to achieving more long term goals in the months ahead.”
In addition to continuing the work already underway, the Philadelphia Resilience Project will focus on the following goals in 2019:
- Close the Emerald Street encampment next month
- Finalize and implement an encampment strategy with stakeholders to prevent encampments from relocating or reforming
- Enhance federal and state partnerships to address narcotic supply and distribution
- Create and strengthen safe mass transit corridors
- Reduce injection drug use and cut down demand for drugs
- Develop and implement strategy with stakeholders to prevent vacant properties from being occupied
- Install additional bright lighting and cameras along Market-Frankford El
- Explore intermediate housing inspired by Seattle’s use of Tiny Houses
- Examine affordable housing strategies that include family reunification and employment assistance
- Use the upcoming winter point-in-time count on January 23 to measure the numbers of unsheltered individuals
- Bring employment providers together to create a unified employment strategy
- Coordinate third large scale cleanup January 19 which will span 125 blocks and three schools
- Pilot mechanical street cleaning on major arteries in Kensington area
- Decrease short-dumping in the target area
- Purchase and install ten additional needle drop boxes
- Support the business corridor on ongoing cleanup efforts
- Reduce access to opioid prescriptions in Kensington through prescription guidelines for prescribers, provider education, and information on fair practices
- Expand warm hand-offs between emergency departments and treatment options
- Deliver trauma-informed trainings, including Mental Health First Aid, to community stakeholder and providers
- Apply for and secure external funding
- Open a Community Resource Center in Kensington
A more detailed update on short- and long-term goals is available HERE. Individuals interested in getting involved can visit phila.gov/resilientPHL to learn more, donate, or sign up to volunteer at the next community cleanup on January 19.
About the Philadelphia Resilience Project
The Philadelphia Resilience Project is the City of Philadelphia’s emergency response to combat the opioid epidemic. Representatives of 35 City departments, offices, and agencies have been activated to carry out the directives outlined in Mayor Kenney’s Opioid Emergency Response Executive Order 3-18. For progress of the effort, visit www.phila.gov/resilientPHL.