PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials say they’re making progress in the clean-up of a stretch of railroad tracks in Kensington that had become a notorious drug haven.
City officials say the Streets Department has collected 250 tons of waste so far, but equally as important, services have been provided to more than a hundred of the people who frequented the half-mile stretch near B Street.
They say 50 were referred for drug treatment in the first week alone.
In that time, Congreso and Kensington Hospital conducted nearly 80 HIV tests and 44 Hepatitis B tests, and the Salvation Army distributed over 750 lunches and snacks.
Managing director Mike Diberardinis says there’s another month of clean-up work on the tracks, but that’s just the beginning.
“We think that this is not the end, but the beginning of a long walk that will hopefully bring the neighborhood back and improve the quality of life in the community,” he said.
DiBerardinis says it’s a joint effort: several city departments working with non-profits and individuals in the area, and they welcome all support.
From the progress report:
“The City also encourages neighbors who see someone in need of immediate medical attention to call 911. Neighbors are also asked to report vacant cars, abandoned homes, illegal dumping, graffiti, street lighting issues, and inadequate syringe disposals to 311.
If residents encounter someone in need of shelter, they should call 215-232-1984, which operates 24 hours a day. Anyone requiring mental health services can call 215-685-6440.
Anyone who wants to support the effort, even if they don’t live in the area, is encouraged to attend the next El Barrio es Nuestro community meeting, August 22nd, 5:30pm at HACE, 200 E. Somerset Street.”