How To: Become A Block Captain

The City of Philadelphia provides support for citizens who’d like to become active in their community. While anyone can round up their neighbors to keep their street clean, the city can help by providing supplies and special trash pickups.

The Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC) runs a Block Captain program, and all you have to do to participate is sign up and have a form mailed to you.

When you receive the yellow form, go ahead and get more than half of your block’s residents endorse you.

“We do require at least 51 percent of the residents to sign it,” said Sandra Miranda, who oversees the 25th and 26th districts for PMBC. “You return it to us and we register your block for street cleanup.”

Getting the signatures lets your neighbors knows what’s going on too.

“It’s letting the residents know that their block is participating in a very unique program, which is cleanliness,” Miranda said.

So what’s next after your neighbors say, “Aye aye, captain!”?

Some of the supplies the PMBC provides to block captains.

“We do provide them with the bags, the brooms and the trash pickup,” she added.

There are scheduled street cleanups by district.

“Each district will get three cleanups per season,” which is March to August said Miranda. “We also have a junior block captain program … because we see them as future block captains.”

There’s even something for the competitive folks.

“We also have a contest every year,” Miranda said. “It’s a clean block contest.”

Blocks that participate get a special trash pickup.

There’s more to it than just clean though.

“We go the extra mile, which is the beautification project; putting flowers out there, trees, painting, decorating and those kinds of thing,” she said. “Doing those kinds of things brings unity to your block.”

PMBC sees clean blocks as more than just litter-free streets.

“A clean block is a safe block,” Miranda said. “The blight is what brings that vandalism and the drugs and everything else.”


-Text and images by Bob Stewart.


  1. I would like another chance to improve my neighborhood for the better. We need change and help. I was B.C. before and our neighborhood was clean and the people were close.Now it’s not.
    Thankyou for considering my thoughts sincerely Ms.Ruby Santa

  2. How do you find out who’s the block captains of each block? How is the program set-up of how to get each street enrolled into the beautification of your street?

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