Clean streets give people a sense of pride in where they live and work and make neighborhoods safer, healthier places to live and visit. And when cities invest in the cleanliness of neighborhoods, they demonstrate that our society values the residents of these communities.
Urban Alchemy is passionate about investing in neighborhoods by cleaning dense urban areas where children and vulnerable people live. When we began working in the Tenderloin in San Francisco and Skid Row in Los Angeles, these neighborhoods were known for their unmanageable problems with litter. Too often, the stench of urine, rotting food and used needles was the norm in these communities. But since Urban Alchemy entered the scene, the streets of Skid Row and the Tenderloin have been transformed.
But cleaning up streets isn’t just about sanitation. Through daily presence in these areas, Urban Alchemy practitioners provide a sense of safety and security for residents. They engage with both housed and unhoused neighbors, and their interpersonal knowledge allows them to diffuse tense situations. Practitioners also direct people who need help or who are experiencing a crisis toward the resources they need.
It takes a community to change a community. Our Practitioners collaborated with unhoused individuals and local business owners to clean up these areas. By working with others, we do more than just tidy up streets—we also build compassionate community relationships.
Where we operate street cleanup:
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
By the numbers
- In a one-month period in the Tenderloin, our Practitioners collected 2,973 needles and 2,089 bags of trash. We handled 113 reports of feces and scrubbed 17 graffiti murals.
- In Skid Row, we removed 1,119 tons of trash (55,940 bags), safely disposed of 34,691 needles, and responded to 210 service calls.
“They’ve removed tons of garbage from the streets, restoring pride to neighborhoods. They’ve established and overseen bathrooms and showers, restoring dignity to those in need. They’ve developed and operated safe camping, safe parking, tiny homes, and hotels, restoring the security of a good night’s sleep.” – The Giving List
“Mayor London Breed, along with many residents, businesses and community leaders in the Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods, praise Urban Alchemy for making streets cleaner and safer.” – San Francisco Chronicle