BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you drive through Baltimore- especially during rush hour- you’ve probably come across kids offering to squeegee your windshield.
The city is now working on a plan to help those kids get back in school or find permanent jobs.
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young has spent the last two months talking to education professionals, businesses and the squeegee kids themselves to come up with alternative ideas about how they can advance their education and professional goals.
Typically, squeegee kids gather at intersections and offer to clean windows for a payment.
“They’re usually on that block and right there too,” said driver Alex Bell.
In the past, there have been several reported incidents where kids have allegedly become aggressive with drivers, and Mayor Young said he believes their energy is better spent elsewhere.
So he’s come up with a plan.
“The immediate piece is trying to find alternatives to get them out of the streets because it’s a safety issue as far as I’m concerned,” Mayor Young said.
The Squeegee Alternative Plan has short-term and long-term solutions to give kids the support they need to get back in school or find a job.
“We’re talking about making sure we look at their home situation, resources to help the family, to help pay rent and gasoline,” Mayor Young added.
The plan calls for increased bike patrol officers at locations where many squeegee kids typically report to.
He’s also hired two full-time staff members to lead outreach and recruitment programs- and partnered with small businesses and non-profits to connect young people with job training and eventually get them full-time positions.
Some Baltimore residents suggest more creative programming for kids.
“Something in art, photography, film,” Bell said.
Anything to motivate them to use their skills and talents more effectively.
“I believe doing like programs and stuff for them, especially during the summer because a lot of these kids don’t have anything to do, they’re bored and need money,” said resident Gary Streety.
The entire program will cost the city $1.2 million. Mayor Young said only part of it has implemented, and he’s waiting on funding to execute the rest of it.