Blight Patrol Looking for Work

(Memphis) It’s slow season for the Lifeline to Success Blight Patrol, which employs ex-cons.

“It keeps me off the street from 9 to 9, I’m not in any trouble. I’m doing good, I’m in good health. I enjoy it,” said felon Jackie Brown with Blight Patrol.

But Brown has seen his pay cut recently.

“More than 75 percent, but we are staying in engaged,” said DeAndre Brown with Blight Patrol about the cuts.

“If they’re not engaged they run the risk of going back to prison or going back to jail and that can’t happen, they’ve worked too hard, we’ve worked and come too far to begin to lose some of our men and women,” said Brown.

The city of Memphis confirms the work provided to Blight Patrol has reduced in the winter months.

“Obviously during the winter months, you don’t have a lot of weeds and a lot of grass growing therefore we are required to scale back our operations,” said Memphis Public Works director Dwan Gilliom.

The city says this time of the year, they mitigate 150 lots each week, compared to 600 each week during the peak summer months.

Gilliom said they are working to spread the $3.5 million budgeted for blight this fiscal year.

“We will probably start increasing the amount of lots sometime during the month of April,” said Gilliom.

Meantime, the Blight Patrol was working Monday to rake leaves and clean storm drains which they do not get paid for.

“As long as I’m somewhere everyday that’s not negative, it’s going to be alright. But it does hurt to not be able to take care of the business that you have to take care of,” said Brown.

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