CITY COUNCIL, KENNEY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCE “SAME DAY WORK AND PAY” PROGRAM TO PROVIDE PATH TO EMPLOYMENT FOR UP TO 500 PEOPLE
City Council leaders and the Kenney administration joined with non-profit organizations and the business community today to announce a significant public-private investment in a jobs program that provides participants with income, skills training and access to support services to help them obtain long-term employment and a path toward economic stability.
With unemployment rising in Philadelphia, amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities, City Council allocated funding in the FY21 Budget to support proven anti-poverty initiatives. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society‘s (PHS) LandCare and Roots to Reentry programs are two such initiatives.
LandCare hires local residents and small businesses to perform landscaping work in over 12,000 vacant lots throughout the city. Roots to Reentry hires returning citizens and other individuals facing barriers to employment and trains them to obtain long-term employment in landscaping.
City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, flanked by Acting Managing Director Tumar Alexander, five members of Council, PHS, One Day at a Time, Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, on Thursday announced a significant expansion of Same Day Pay and Work and said up to 500 individuals would obtain opportunities to work over the next six months.
“Our same-day work and pay initiative makes perfect sense,” Clarke said at a news conference in front of a trash-filled lot in North Philadelphia – the kind of location to be cleaned up by program workers citywide. “This is part of our war on poverty in Philadelphia. We’re working with individuals, providing them with job opportunities, adding social services, and working to lift them up out of poverty. It’s a win-win.”
PHS will supervise the Same Day Work and Pay pilot program, which will pay individuals $15 an hour to clear vacant lots, clean street corridors and perform basic maintenance tasks throughout the city. In addition to daily pay, workers in the program will receive tools and supplies, including PPE. Workers will also be connected with social service workers who will provide assistance in obtaining housing, behavioral health and other supports often overlooked in other job training programs.
Clarke said a budget transfer ordinance would be introduced in Council shortly to pay for the program’s expansion, and he anticipated it would cost approximately $500,000.
Clarke was joined at today’s news conference by Councilmembers Maria Quiñones Sánchez, (7th District), Cherelle Parker (9th District), Jamie Gauthier (3rd District) and At Large members Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Kendra Brooks, underscoring the citywide reach of the program.
The Chamber of Commerce a is participating in the program’s expansion, and pledged to engage its members to participate and consider hiring individuals trained through the initiative.
A POWERFUL SPEECH ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE FROM COUNCILMEMBER GAUTHIER
In remarks at the close of Council’s weekly meeting Thursday, Councilmember Gauthier, who has made the city’s ongoing gun violence epidemic a public cause recently, offered a powerful set of remarks.
Gauthier spoke of going to the scene of a recent fatal shooting in her West Philadelphia district. She said she say the young shooting victim laying on the street, beneath a sheet. She witnessed the victim’s mother, “inconsolable.” She saw a group of young men, standing nearby, “stern-faced,” not allowing themselves to show any emotion. She spoke with a young woman at the scene, who said flatly, “Nothing will ever change.”
Gauthier continued to call the city’s response to escalating gun violence “unacceptable”. She has called on the mayor to declare a state of emergency.
Her powerful remarks moved her colleagues. Councilmember Derek Green (At Large) followed, decrying the constant violence, and called for “a sense of urgency in our city” around the epidemic. Green mentioned the recent passings of several longtime anti-violence community activists, including Bennie Swans, Malik Aziz and David Fattah. “We need the next generation of Bennie Swans, Malik Azizs and David Fattahs to emerge,” he said.
Earlier during the session, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), introduced a resolution authorizing Council’s Committees on Gun Violence Prevention and Children and Youth to hold joint hearings to examine the need for access to trauma counseling for Philadelphia’s youth, based on the ongoing gun violence.
Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District), who chairs Council’s Public Safety Committee and is perhaps the longest-standing advocate against gun violence on Council, commended his newer colleagues’ sense of urgency around these issues, saying, “We can never allow this to become our New Normal.”
NEW ZONING MEASURE FOR SOCIETY HILL PASSES COUNCIL
A zoning bill described by its sponsor, Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District) as a “compromise” to better control and influence development in Society Hill, but which was opposed by some advocates, passed Council overwhelmingly Thursday.
Bill No. 200094, described by Squilla as an effort to impose a variety of standards concerning building height, parking, signage and other issues, passed 17-0, with outspoken support from his colleagues, but not before some residents testified in public comment against the measure, claiming it would make it harder for affordable housing to be built in Society Hill.
Squilla received support from his colleague, Councilmember Johnson, who commended Squilla for working closely with his community to create the zoning legislation, which now goes to Mayor Kenney for consideration.
SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA…
Proud to stand with our @PhillyVotes team as we open the @LiacourasCenter Satelitte #Election2020 office, one of 17 locations in the city where voters can register, apply for mail ballots, complete them and return them safely.
— Darrell Clarke (@Darrell_Clarke) September 29, 2020
IN OTHER NEWS…
Councilmember Bobby Henon calls for Council to evaluate city’s plan for any rollout of vaccine for COVID-19. A resolution from Councilmember Henon (6th District) authorizes the Committee on Public Health and Human Services to evaluate the city Health Department’s plans to facilitate the vaccination of Philadelphia residents for COVID-19 – whenever a vaccine becomes available.
“We know that one of the best ways to prevent the spread and severity of communicable diseases is through vaccination,” said Councilman Henon. “While it is not clear when the COVID-19 vaccine will be available from the federal government for widespread distribution in Philadelphia, we need to plan and budget for a rapid, city-wide vaccination effort.”
“Communities of color, the elderly and individuals with inadequate access to health care are at greatest risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19,” said Councilmember Cindy Bass, Chair of the Committee on Public Health and Human Services. “My committee is committed to evaluating issues that the City of Philadelphia will face in getting the vaccine out to every community, especially communities who are at greatest risk from COVID-19.”
OTHER SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE COUNCIL WEEK
Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless, held 9-29-2020
Stated Meeting of Philadelphia City Council, held 10-1-2020
Committee on Rules, held 10-1-2020
NEXT WEEK IN COUNCIL
Due to the ongoing pandemic, all hearing and meetings are held remotely via Microsoft Teams. All proceedings can be viewed live on Xfinity Ch. 64, Fios Ch, 40 and streamed at phlcouncil.com/watch
October 5, 2020
Committee on Finance 1:00 pm
October 6, 2020
Committee on Commerce and Economic Development 2:30 pm
October 7, 2020
Committee on Public Safety 9:30 am
Committee on Public Safety 4:30 pm
October 8, 2020
Stated Meeting of Philadelphia City Council 10:00 am
October 9, 2020
Committee on Public Safety 9:30 am
Committee on Housing Neighborhood Development and the Homeless 1:00 pm
PHILADELPHIA FACTS AND FIGURES
The next Stated Meeting of City Council is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 10:00 am. The Meeting will be held remotely due to the ongoing pandemic, and will air on Xfinity Ch. 64, Fios Ch. 40 and stream at www.PHLCouncil.com/watch.