Councilmember calls on Mayor Kenney to help Kensington community

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Residents in Philadelphia's Kensington say conditions are worsening by the day in the wake of looting, weeks of civil unrest and the ongoing global pandemic.

On Tuesday, local leaders gathered to call for action from Mayor Jim Kenney.

From vandalism to drug deals to safety concerns for residents, they are calling for an action plan -- one they are looking to put in place immediately.

"We're for the children having a safe environment. We're for people being able to sit on their steps without worrying about drug dealers and defecation. We're for the people, so Mayor Kenney, you come down to Kensington and you tell me you're ok with this under your leadership. You come to Kensington and tell me that any neighborhood deserves this," said Councilmember María Quiñones-Sánchez.

Quiñones-Sánchez says businesses are suffering amid the economic downturn and civil unrest and the progress they've made has been reversed in recent months.

She says streets need cleaning, garbage needs to picked up, homelessness needs to be addressed and crime is on the rise.

"We need action. I believe that if we go in this neighborhood, we clean alleyways, we do some lighting, public safety, we help people with their problems in their house. We will send a message that we care and we can get better buy-in. Right now, the residents have totally lost confidence in us," she said.

Last week, Sánchez introduced a resolution renewing the "call to action" plan in Kensington and she's added community hearings to the calendar.

Action News reached out to Kenney's office for comment:

"The Administration has long shared the Councilmember's commitment to doing everything possible to improve the quality of life of Kensington residents struggling amid crime and deteriorating neighborhood conditions, while also helping those experiencing homelessness and suffering from substance use disorder. The Kenney administration has invested tens of millions of dollars in this work since 2016, much of it through the Philadelphia Resilience Project. We look forward to having Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez, and all members of Council, as partners in that effort."
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