Neighborhood Clean-Up/Keep Texas City Beautiful
A neighborhood cleanup is just what it sounds like: residents band together to clean up all or part of their neighborhood. When a neighborhood is awash in trash and litter, when streets and surfaces are dirty and grimy, when graffiti are splattered on every blank wall, the streets can become symbols of the hopelessness of residents' situations, and of the impossibility of improving their lives. Even in more affluent neighborhoods, an abundance of refuse can lower residents' expectations, and work against community economic and social development.
A neighborhood cleanup program is an ongoing project that assumes that effort will be maintained, even if only once a year. There are actually three kinds of neighborhood cleanups, any or all of which can be included in a single event:
- Public space cleanup. Neighborhood volunteers, usually with simple equipment – brooms, shovels, gloves, trash bags – spend some or all of a day cleaning up part or all of a neighborhood.
- Household cleanup. On a designated day or week, neighborhood volunteers or the municipality will (usually at no cost to the household) pick up items too large for regular waste disposal or otherwise difficult to get rid of. Residents simply leave the items waiting to be picked up at the edge of the road at an appointed date and time.
- Community-assisted cleanup. If one of the spots most in need of a cleanup is on private property – a vacant lot in which the owner or others have dumped a large amount of trash and bulky waste, for example – or if there are items, such as abandoned or junked cars, that a neighborhood group simply can't remove, the neighborhood may need help from the larger community. The municipality may be able to provide permits, equipment, and other aids to address the problem.
Why Conduct a Neighborhood Clean-Up?
- A neighborhood cleanup program can instill neighborhood pride.
- It can break a cycle of hopelessness and helplessness.
- It gives everyone a chance to contribute.
- A cleanup program enhances neighborhood quality of life.
- It can improve the self-image of residents and of the neighborhood as a whole.
- A neighborhood cleanup program can improve neighborhood health.
- It can help to "green" the neighborhood.
- It can serve as a springboard for other neighborhood actions or activities.
- It can increase the number of relationships and the amount of social capital within the neighborhood.
- A neighborhood cleanup program can encourage the embrace of diversity.