The year-long pilot program provided traditional cleaning and security to enhance existing City services. It furnished the tools and personnel to benefit the entire community, especially its transient population.
The oversize check was presented at a May 3 press conference outside Mavericks Beach Club by District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf, who initially funded the program.
“It’s been an entire year since we launched Clean and Safe, and we’re here today to share the success of year one,” said Zapf, noting the novel program employed 29 homeless to collect 250 tons of trash while removing 12 tons of litter from PB streets.
“Additionally, they placed safety ambassadors 40 hours a week in the business district providing an added layer of community security during peak times, like bar break,” said Zapf.
Noting the public-private partnership “has made a very positive impact in Pacific Beach,” Zapf added, “It’s been hard to put a price on the outcomes that have been achieved. The bottom line is lives here in PB have changed for the better.”
Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB, discussed the program’s three-pronged approach.
“That includes cleaning, security and homeless outreach, which is what makes this program different,” Berns said, praising the community’s nonprofit security team, Pacific Beach Street Guardians.
“Clean and Safe has helped PB Street Guardians to continue to live out our mission to connect housed and unhoused neighbors here in our community,” said Guardians’ spokesperson Caryn Blanton. “It’s given our community a way to address a pressing need as we compassionately care for a portion of our unhoused population.”
Blanton said community outreach by PB Street Guardians has increased from three to six days a week adding the program has substantially benefitted homeless participants. “Of the 29 people in the program, five have gone on to find permanent jobs and housing,” she said.
“We didn’t have as many eyes on the streets as we would have liked when we were redeveloping this property,” said Dave Cohen of Mavericks, adding Clean and Safe helped Garnet Avenue shopkeepers “keep the area clean and fill in the gaps” of daily security coverage.
Asked whether Clean and Safe has impacted police calls and service, San Diego Police Department community relations officer Larry Hesselgesser replied it was hard to quantify. “A very clean city is a deterrent in itself in keeping crime and homeless in this area down. It’s a win-win for all of us.”
PB hotelier Elvin Lai was cited by Zapf for being instrumental in helping to launch the Clean and Safe program.