PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There are thousands of boarded up homes in North Philadelphia. Pedro Rodriguez and Richard Cook have a list to prove it.
"Being boarded up is just like a sense of emptiness," said Rodriguez. He and Cook spend their work days trying to fix that. They're employed with the "Community Life Improvement Program," a new initiative in Philadelphia that's better known as CLIP. The painters go around the city with paint and stencils and cover up the boarded properties.
"When you're driving through the neighborhood, you don't just see a lot of abandoned houses. We've had people think it's an actual house," said Cook. The workers paint on doorknobs and mail slots on the doors and a frame on the windows. They also put the CLIP logo on the door. The whole project takes about 15 minutes. So far, the pair has painted more than 300 homes.
"We still take pride in every door and window we do," said Rodriguez.
The city explains that it's a quick way to patch up community eyesores, rather than replacing the doors and windows. "A lot of times, there's not a homeowner or they don't have the funding to do that, so this is a temporary fix," said Thomas Conway, the Deputy Managing Director for the city.
He also said the city is getting a lot of positive feedback.
"I think it's a good idea because the houses look hideous," said Myron Williams of North Philadelphia.
Other neighbors, however, were skeptical. "The house is on fire. Anybody who wants to help us put the fire out, we're down with some help. We need help," said Iday Muhammed. He continued to say he'd like to see more business in his neighborhood.
The city says it plans on expanding this project to also begin cleaning up some of the vacant lots. "We have 11 youth coming on board from the most violent sections of the city," said Conway. "We give them an opportunity, provide them with some skills, some job experience, and also a paycheck to get them off the streets and doing something productive."
To report a boarded-up home to the program, call 215-686-6396.
New Philadephia City Program Paints Boarded Doors and Windows