There was another cleanup this weekend. This one was on a block that is well known for problems both because it looks so bad, has several vacant properties, and has a lot of crime. I arrived a little late because I wasn't really sure which intersection everyone was meeting at, and I parked further away than I wanted. There was a slightly smaller crowd this time and I only saw four people who were at the last one.
During the time I was there, I took a small break for a cup of water and to get out of the blistering heat for a bit. I sat down next to a man who was sitting under the canopy drinking water and talking to some of the people there. I introduced myself and he said that he lived on that block and had come over looking for work but when he found there was no pay he was uninterested. I was floored. This was his block, I explained. What happened to the "pay" of doing a good job for the community? He just looked at me probably thinking I was daft. Later that morning, another man came over and asked if there were jobs available and when I said no and asked if he was a resident of the block he said he was not interested.
I was hoping that part of the project was to get the neighbors to help themselves after the first initial push. I know the young man who is heading up this project and he has gotten some volunteers to sign up from the neighborhoods where he is working, but I don't understand the whole mentality of keeping you own block clean. Isn't that what a neighborhood is all about?