Baltimore plan bans squeegee workers from some high-traffic areas

Panhandlers known as “squeegee workers” have been common in Baltimore since the 1980s. Now a new plan aims to stop them from cleaning drivers’ windshields for cash in certain high-traffic parts of the city.

A pilot program will be launched in six areas of Baltimore, including Conway and Light Streets along the Inner Harbor, in an effort to keep squeegee workers out.

Those areas were determined based on “traffic data, accidents, 311/911 calls, reported incidents and community feedback,” according to the Squeegee Collaborative.

That group, which was put together by Mayor Brandon Scott, has been meeting since July.

One goal is to connect workers, who are mostly boys and young men of color, with mentors, training programs and full time jobs. The group also wants to ensure those who are under 18 are in class during school hours — instead of on the streets.

Another goal is to improve public safety.

The issue “has been challenging Baltimore for more than 40 years,” according to the mayor.

Back in July, a 14-year-old squeegee worker was charged with shooting and killing a driver in Baltimore. It happened after police said the driver got out of his car and swung a baseball bat at several panhandlers.

The full report from the Squeegee Collaborative is posted online.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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