Shaundra Bruvall | March 3, 2022
The Downtown Clean Sweep Program
Lethbridge’s Clean Sweep Program (CSP) is currently overseen by the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) but it got its start more than 20 years ago.
CSP began as the Employment Rejuvenation Program, or ERP. Initially created by the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Center, the ERP transitioned to the CSP under new partnerships with the City of Lethbridge’s Heart of Our City Committee, the Shelter, and the Downtown BRZ.
CSP’s mandate is to keep the 27-block area of downtown Lethbridge clean as it relates to garbage, needles and needle debris, graffiti, and other minor safety and aesthetic elements. CSP stipend volunteers are out on weekday mornings from 6 am to 8 am before businesses open to ensure the downtown area is ready and clean for the day, including by raking leaves or shoveling snow.
There are three services provided under the umbrella of the Clean Sweep Program.
- CSP stipend volunteers travel to different parts of the city to “sweep” for needles and needle debris.
- Needle Debris Hotline
- Provides a dedicated number that citizens can call when they find needle debris requiring disposal
- Shelter Service
- Supports keeping the space around the Shelter (and mobile Overdose Prevention Site operated by Alberta Health Services) clean from the hazards of needles and needle debris
Scott Ritter, Clean Sweep Program Manager, has been with the program for a year. His background as a Safety Officer and passion for CSP tells you much about Scott’s priorities – he is profoundly committed to keeping others safe.
The benefits of the program reach farther than a clean downtown. The program helps provide participants who struggle with chronic homelessness, mental health, and addiction the tools necessary to become employable and re-enter the workforce. Participants are able to form connections to help them gain meaningful mentorship and support.
Says the BRZ, “The CSP is a win-win program. Not only does CSP provide a clean and safe downtown core, it also provides stability and meaning for the participants. They learn to take pride in their work and to see the value in themselves and others.”
Businesses in the downtown are likewise happy to extoll the benefits of the program. All the businesses surveyed said they were “grateful” for CSP’s services suggesting, “our downtown would be a mess if it weren’t for the daily hard work by the CSP foremen and crews.”
If you find a needle, please call the Needle Pickup Hotline: 403-332-0722