PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia today launched the Philadelphia Taking Care of Business (PHL TCB) Clean Corridors Program, a $7 million economic development initiative that expands the Department of Commerce’s existing commercial corridor cleaning efforts from 49 commercial corridors to 85 throughout the city. The program funds community-based non-profits to sweep sidewalks and remove litter along neighborhood commercial corridors.
The PHL TCB Clean Corridors Program will help promote the economic success of neighborhood businesses by creating a more inviting environment for shoppers. It will also grow the capacity of local small businesses and organizations that provide cleaning services. The program offers contract opportunities for local minority- and women-owned businesses, as well as employment opportunities for Philadelphians.
“The Philadelphia Taking Care of Business Clean Corridors Program is a critical investment in Philadelphia’s neighborhood commercial corridors that are the backbone of our communities,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As our city continues to recover from the impact of COVID-19, this program will help ensure that neighborhood corridors are clean, attractive places for businesses, which will also help attract new business activity and provide accessible job opportunities for Philadelphians.”
The funding for the program was allocated by City Council in the City’s annual budget and spearheaded by Councilmember Cherelle Parker, who first proposed PHL TCB in September 2019.
“Our neighborhood business districts are the arteries that help to stabilize our communities. They are gateways of opportunity for small business owners across the city, and they deserve the level of investment afforded through the PHL Taking Care of Business program,” said Councilmember Cherelle Parker. “But we aren’t just taking care of businesses, we are taking care of the business of making an equitable investment in the people who live in the communities served by this program. The expansion of this corridor cleaning initiative gives us the opportunity to offer a living wage of $15 per hour and job development training to more than 200 Cleaning Ambassadors, as well as create real opportunities for minority cleaning companies to increase their capacity. Through PHL TCB, we are taking care of the business of creating tangible access to employment, growth, and a cleaner Philadelphia.”
A total of 39 organizations have been selected to participate in the PHL TCB Clean Corridors program, which is an increase from the 29 organizations involved in the Commerce Department’s cleaning program during the last fiscal year. The 39 organizations are contracted to clean 85 commercial corridors across Philadelphia, up from the 49 that the Commerce Department previously funded. Most organizations employ a three- or four-person crew of cleaning ambassadors who clean their neighborhood commercial corridor on a regular schedule of up to five times per week.
Since securing the contracts over the summer, the participating organizations have been hiring additional staff as they start implementing the expanded and more frequent cleaning that has been made possible by the increased funding. The program is expected to employ 203 cleaning ambassadors citywide. Most cleaning ambassador jobs don’t require previous experience or a high school diploma. PHL TCB cleaning organizations are encouraged to hire neighborhood residents, including formerly incarcerated individuals.
The Streets Department is supporting PHL TCB by providing dedicated crews that are able to assist PHL TCB organizations with the removal of bags of litter that is collected. Streets Department SWEEP officers also work to educate businesses about their responsibility to sweep their sidewalks and put trash out correctly.
“Through this program, we are thrilled to receive additional funding to expand our sidewalk cleaning program along the North 5th Street commercial corridor, which supports so many small, local diverse businesses” said Stephanie Michel, Director of the North 5th Street Revitalization Project. “Thanks to the PHL TCB Clean Corridors Program, we’ll be able to give our own longtime employees working as cleaning ambassadors additional hours, hire a new person, and increase the frequency that we clean the 5th and Olney commercial corridor. Our Sanitation Specialists are the backbone of our efforts to shine a much-deserved light on North 5th and Olney.”
Many of the workers currently employed will receive additional hours and a pay increase, as all cleaning ambassadors will earn a living wage of at least $15 an hour. The program also supports the professional development of cleaning ambassadors by providing paid workforce training that is integrated into their work.