The Homewood Redd-Up is a partnership between Operation Better Block Inc., Rosedale Block Cluster Inc. and the Homewood-Brushton YMCA as part of a larger citywide clean-up or Redd-Up effort performed each year, typically in April. Started in 2006, Homewood Redd-Up is a component of the Homewood, Squirrel Hill, and Point Breeze Redd-Up Coalition, comprised of local organizations who are committed to beautification. It also encourages environmentalism, multi-community, multicultural relations, interfaith relations and neighborhood revitalization.

The Homewood Redd-Up took place on April 16th; from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration was held at the corner of Bennett Street and N. Homewood Avenue in the parking lot of the old Rite-Aid building. Bags, gloves, and other supplies where provided and light refreshments were served.

(Photos by Ashley G. Woodson)

“Redd-Up is about taking pride in what we have and taking care of it. Your clean-up initiative can start with a group of neighbors in your living room, or you can do your homework and identify and invite key stakeholders to the local church basement. Ask yourself who shares my concern? Think outside of the box!,” said Kiva Fisher-Green, Homewood resident and one of the Redd Up founders.

“Each year, our Coalition’s efforts are supported by Allegheny Cleanways, Pennsylvania Resource Council, City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works, Jackie Dixon of Giant Eagle, Einstein’s Bagels, Panera Bread, Showcase BBQ, Whole Foods, East End Food Co-Op, City of Pittsburgh Clean Commission and the Office of the Mayor,” said Jose Diaz, senior community organizer of Operation Better Block.

“Originally the Redd-Up was to unite two communities, which are Squirrel Hill and Homewood, by cleaning up the neighborhoods. We usually clean up these two neighborhoods in the Spring and Fall, but our ultimate goal is to get people to clean up more than twice a year. Boris Winestein read about me doing a cleanup on my street here in Homewood and we started Redd Up. I am one of the original members of Redd-Up here in Homewood,” Fisher-Green said. “Some of the areas that we clean are Frankstown Avenue, Hamilton Avenue, Bennett Street and all over the Homewood community. We get a lot of support from everyone in the community. The seniors and churches really come out to help with the effort. We definitely want more residents to come out and support what we are doing to keep our communities clean.”

Boris Winestein from Citizens Against Litter is making an effort to clean up the whole city.

“Everything got started right in Homewood and Squirrel Hill. We interchange people from each community and we’ve added South Point Breeze and North Point Breeze, Park Place and before we knew it we started contacting other neighborhoods to participate in the Redd Up Coalition. The whole idea was to collect litter and connect neighborhoods”, said Winestein.

Diaz is always excited about being a part of the Redd Up Coalition every year.

“This is a partnership between Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze and the Homewood Redd-Up Coalition. The partners include Homewood Brushton YMCA, Rosedale Block Cluster and Bible Center Church. The 2nd Division from the Department of Public Works, which provided the tables, and Operation Better Block. “One of the things I was concerned about was the weather and the threat of rain. The good news is that people came out anyway and we had over eighty people in attendance. Everyone is scattered around the community cleaning up,” said Diaz.

Damon Waller, from Rosedale Block Cluster said it’s important for him to be a part of the Redd-Up. He works with the youth between the ages of 18 and 25.

“The community has areas that they own and it is important to keep them clean. It makes everyone feel better when you have a clean community,” said Waller.

Jerome Jackson, executive director of Operation Better Block, knows how important it is to participate in the Redd-Up Coalition. “Taking different areas in the neighborhood and cleaning them is a great thing because they would never get cleaned otherwise.” The next Redd Up will be held in October. For more information, call 412-731-1908 and ask for Jose Diaz.

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