PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “We call it Filthadelphia, but I’ve liver here all my life so I don’t notice it any more,” said one Philadelphia resident.
That won’t be the case for the tens of thousands of dignitaries and delegates coming to town next week. So that’s why clean up efforts have gone into overdrive.
“We have been doing general work in the area just to beautify the city for the DNC,” said City Sanitation Administration Farguq Scott.
The underbelly of the 95 overpass in FDR Park has somewhat of a cult following, with skaters and sadly contractors who use the area as an illegal dump site, rather than paying for proper waste disposal.
Scott said his crews already spruced this area up last week before being hit with more dumping. “We just say to contractors, please stop dumping out here so we can have it look nice for the DNC.”
The city is also asking residents to take responsibility for their own homes and porch fronts. As for green space, like at Columbus Park, grass is growing high, but residents say there may be deeper issues that sprucing.
“I don’t really notice it anymore. I notice the homeless people,” one man said.
Marcellus Cain won’t ask for money. He likes to earn it with some entertainment, like a card trick. “I get respect because in order to get it, you got to give it,” Cain said.
According to the advocacy organization, Project Home, Philadelphia has an average of 650 people living on the street at any given time. A rate that can rise far higher in the summer.
“I’m trying to get a house, trying to get off the street,” he said.
However, things get complicated when big events come to town. A push to get the homeless sheltered during the Papal Visit hit some hard. Two men told Eyewitness News they were woken up this week and told by officials that the Convention Center, among other traditional camp sites, will be off limits during next week’s DNC.
Cain said that he can understand why some of his fellow homeless feel unsightly, or disregarded. He also sympathizes with visitors to the city.
“That’s terrible, but I have to be honest. It is what it is. They make it hard for guys like me who is out on the street by me. This is an event with people coming to town and they want it to be nice. Some guys leave their trash and their urine and they make it hard for people like me.”