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Volunteers and city officials clean up Kensington Avenue on November 1.
Volunteers and city officials clean up Kensington Avenue on November 1.

Philadelphia’s opioid response hits deadline for short-term goals

November 16 was the target date for the immediate goals outlined as part of the city's emergency response efforts.

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On Friday, Philadelphia city officials convened to provide an update on its emergency response to the opioid crisis. Now a month into its efforts, Friday was the target deadline of many of the government’s short-term goals.

Most notably, the city has cleared the heroin encampment at Frankford Avenue in Kensington. This is the third major site that the city has cleared, according to Philly.com.

The city reports that it has also finalized a budget for a temporary Navigation Center as part of its mission to reduce the unsheltered population. Officials have identified Self, Inc. as the provider for the facility. According to its website, Self is an organization dedicated to providing “emergency housing, housing-focused case management, mentoring, and other vital services for Philadelphia's most vulnerable communities. By December 31, the city plans to have this facility up and running.

All six objectives regarding the reduction of trash and litter have been completed, the city’s progress report shows. In addition to the early November cleanup along Kensington Avenue, needle boxes were installed in McPherson Square and select SEPTA stations, a bike group has been formed to help collect syringes, and volunteers from the workforce development organization, Center for Employment Opportunities, are helping clean up the Kensington area three times a week, among other milestones reached according to the city’s progress report.

Officials additionally report ongoing progress regarding efforts to both reduce overdoses and increase access to treatment options. As of Nov. 16, outreach teams have vaccinated 268 people for Hepatitis A, and testing for HIV among drug users has been increased by nearly a third.

As part of its efforts to mobilize community involvement, the city has set up a bilingual Philly311 unit to handle information for Kensington and Fairhill.

To learn more about the Philadelphia Resilience Project, click here.

For the city's latest weekly update on the progress of its emergency response, click here.

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