We first approached the City of Philadelphia in the summer of 2013 to inquire about any properties the city owned that we may use to house homeless veterans. Six months later in December of 2013 the City of Philadelphia passed the Land Bank Bill which allowed the City to legally acquire the 30,000 to 60,000 vacant and abandoned properties that were owned by people who died in the 40’s and 50’s. Until the Land Bank Bill passed in December 2013 there was no law allowing anyone to acquire these properties. For over 70 years the lead paint from these properties have been flaking away into the soil, from the soil to the water supply, and from the water supply to the air.
The reason why “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (you’re lucky if you get 2 days of sun per week), is the lead in the air from these abandoned properties. That’s also the reason why if you ask anyone from Philadelphia if they know anyone from Philly who is crazy they will most likely respond with “Everyone from Philly is Crazy” or “We’re all crazy!” (try it sometime).
Mapler’s plan to clean the air of the City of Philadelphia includes hiring homeless veterans to safely remove the lead from these abandoned properties to create livable homes for them to move into. Our partner AVFS has a farm in SC where they teach veterans how to farm and they will come up to Philadelphia to teach these newly housed veterans how to grow the mushrooms, trees, bushes, and flowers that can clean the lead from the immediate soil and the air. We plan to give the newly housed veterans a salary to tend the plants and mushrooms that will be cleaning the lead from the soil and the air for a couple of years before asking our other partners Blue Boson to install their equipment in the rivers to clean the lead from the water as well.