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'We are not going to criminalize these young people.' City rolls out action plan to address squeegee workers

City rolls out action plan to address squeegee workers
Posted at 10:26 PM, Nov 23, 2021

BALTIMORE — On Tuesday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on rolled out a 90-day-action plan that will expand city efforts to address squeegee workers.

RELATED: Baltimore Mayor launches 90-day plan to address ongoing concerns over squeegeeing

For the next three months, the city is increasing it's effort to keep the street corners safe. This comes in response to increased complaints to city leaders to address the hostility drivers often face.

It's important to note policing and removal of the squeegee workers is not part of the plan.

"We are not going to criminalize these young people," said Mayor Brandon Scott. "Growing up in Park Heights, I understand what many of these young people are going through, that they are often doing this work to put food on the table so their family can eat and help pay bills so their lights can be on, to help pay bills for food and water -- all the thing adults normally bring to their family. This plan is about making our intersections safer for everyone and connecting our young people with employment opportunities."

Included in the plan are posting traffic control officers at high-traffic intersections, holding bi-weekly "corner events" with city agencies and the establishment of a new Boys and Men of Color Cabinet that will "engage academic, business and community partners to build a comprehensive strategy for connecting the city's disconnected boys and men of color to opportunity," according to a statement from the mayor's office.

As part of the plan, the Mayor's Office of Children and Family Success will work with employers to hire youth and develop a pilot program to provide young people a daily stipend for working day jobs throughout the city.

“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 to get to the root of this issue," said Faith Leach, deputy mayor for Equity, Health and Human Services.

The mayor said a city hotel has stepped up to hire 10 squeegee workers over the next six months.