“Build beyond expectations.”
That is the goal the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Mobile Maintenance Crew hopes to reach every time they drive to Strawberry Mansion.
They are union workers from Laborers Local Union 332 who have partnered with the PHA in efforts to keep properties clean in low-income areas. The main focus is to maintain the appearance of senior-citizen, assisted-living places and Section 8 homes.
Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, you can find George Blatch and his partner happily doing just that.
The pair are responsible for maintaining the appearance and landscaping of the Parkview Apartments Senior Citizen Facility on 33rd and Diamond streets.
“We scrub windows, trim trees and pretty much anything we need to do to make sure the place looks good,” Blatch said.
And while this work may seem arduous and unnecessary for some, to George it is all worth while.
“You have to love what you do and this is our job. We live for our job,” he said while picking up trash in the courtyard.
During the winter months, their efforts are more appreciated. With unruly leaves and heavy snowfall, an average work day in Strawberry Mansion can last up to nine hours.
“These people are old. So we are like the superheroes that come in and handle the snow and bad situations for them,” Blatch said. “I do it for their smiles, they’re priceless.”
The PHA Mobile Maintenance Crew has countless other divisions for improving neighborhoods including home renovation and carpentry.