BALTIMORE — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Tuesday acknowledged the well documented concerns over squeegeeing at busy city intersections.
In response the Mayor is launching what he called a "90 Day Squeegee Action Plan," to provide better job opportunities to those who spend their days squeegeeing.
The plan aims to address the root cause of the issue, one that Scott says falls on the city and should be considered a public health matter.
“Seeing such a large number of young people on corners illustrates our failings as a city. This practice has been part of Baltimore culture for a long time, growing over the last 20 years to become more widespread, visible and divisive We have to acknowledge the trauma, and challenges our youth that squeegee face,” said Scott. “I understand what many of these young men and women are going through. It is crucial that we look at this as a public health matter, look at the underlying factors that cause these young people to squeegee and provide wrap-around services to give them the support they need.”
The plan is expected to be laid out in three steps.
Beginning in December the city says it will host bi-weekly “Resources to the Corner” events, in an effort to connect those squeegeeing with various resources and support services.
The second addresses youth and motorist safety, which calls for recruiting, training, and deploying Traffic Control Staff to busy intersections. A 311 notification system will also be established specifically for squeegee related issues.
Third, the plan will look to build up relationships and partnerships between those squeegeeing and local employers and businesses who could offer other means of paid employment.
General framework of the plan is expected to be presented to the public in early 2022.
“We are looking to develop a strategy that tackles this issue in a way that is humane, measured and addresses the safety and wellbeing of all stakeholders,” said Deputy Mayor for Equity, Health, and Human Services Faith Leach. “We know that many of the people who engage in squeegeeing are generating income for their families, be it for bills, toiletries, or the rent. We cannot leave disconnected youth out of the conversation. We have to bring them in and center our strategy around their concerns in order to get to the root of this issue.”