Buffalo, New York – Gathered along Jefferson Avenue, Mayor Byron W. Brown and the Division of Citizen Services Save Our Streets (SOS) Task Force announced the official start of the 2023 Clean Sweep Season. Clean Sweep is an impactful initiative and collaboration that brings together City departments with various County, State, and Federal governments, not for profit and private agencies, including health and human service providers, and volunteers from local businesses and universities, to fight the war on blight and crime by bringing important resources and information directly into the neighborhoods that need them the most.
“Today, we officially launched the 2023 Clean Sweep Season in the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood, where many of our friends and family continue to struggle, nearly a year to the day of the mass shooting at Tops, located right around the corner. As May 14th quickly approaches, our goal is to remember and honor the ten lives that were taken, support survivors and those impacted, and with great reverence, continue to look forward and build East Buffalo even better than it was before. By focusing today’s sweep on this neighborhood, we are doing just that.”
The Clean Sweep program was created by Mayor Anthony Masiello and expanded under Mayor Brown as part of his continued commitment to work constantly to further improve neighborhoods citywide. Over the next six months, under the leadership of Chief Service Officer and Director of Citizen Services Oswaldo Mestre, the City of Buffalo Save Our Streets Task Force will conduct 34 “sweeps” and address issues on thousands of properties. By the end of this season, they will have completed over 430 sweeps since 2006.
This year, Clean Sweep will keep a laser-sharp focus on equitable restorative engagement within the City of Buffalo, with each weekly sweep taking place in neighborhoods with challenges, that have been identified by using data-driven innovative methodologies, including 311 calls and more.
In order to ensure the efficacy of the Clean Sweep Initiative, the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative has come on board as a partner to further develop the City’s Clean Sweep area identification and mapping through data, while also implementing surveying methodology that will enable Buffalo to track and follow-up directly with residents and evaluate the Clean Sweep program for the City of Buffalo.
Mayor Brown stated, “The launch of this season would not have been possible without our community partners who have remained steadfast, despite our recent challenges, including the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue. In addition to our community partners, we are grateful for our partnerships within City Hall and the City of Buffalo who help us maintain the logistical side of the Clean Sweep season, including the Buffalo Police Department, City Inspectors, the Buffalo Urban and Renewal Agency, and the Department of Public Works, Parks, and Streets.”
Oswaldo Mestre, the Chief Service Officer & Director of the Division of Citizen Services, stated,
“Operation Clean Sweep is a cross-collaborative city engagement initiative that allows us to engage residents in place to assist with quality-of-life needs, allowing us to bring City Hall to residents in a one-stop approach and make their concerns actionable. I have witnessed this program transform and become a hope for residents. Using data-driven methodology to identify critical areas throughout the City has informed our decisions on which neighborhoods to enter. More than ever there is a pressing need to address citizen concerns and eliminate the barriers that challenge community cohesion and growth. Thank you to Mayor Byron Brown, Save Our Streets Coordinator Michael Smith, the Division of Citizen Services, all City departments that are involved in this initiative, the many volunteers who have donated their time to taking care of the environment, and of course, our community partners and residents. Clean Sweeps’ success is a testament to the power of teamwork, unified in the desire to serve our communities.”
Throughout the 2023 Clean Sweep season, the SOS Task Force will offer essential quality-of-life services to residents including dental services, health insurance enrollment, homeless outreach, fire prevention education, disaster preparedness, mental health services, youth and senior programming information, employment and training referrals, tree trimming, boarding and demolishing vacant homes, removing debris and abandoned tires, filling potholes, cleaning sewer receivers, offering 311 information to assist in addressing neighborhood complaints.