Around town | February 14, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 14, 2014

Around town

PROPS FOR PARTNERSHIPS ... A group of local organizations — the Downtown Streets Team, Palo Alto Business and Professional Association, Palo Alto Parking Committee and the Palo Alto Police Department — received a $15,000 pat on the back this week for their collaborative efforts to improve safety and strengthen relationships between the community and police. They were selected from more than 540 applicants nationwide to receive one of 10 MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards. The Downtown Streets Team is made up of homeless volunteers who, in exchange for food and housing vouchers, job search services and other resources, maintain the community by sweeping streets, putting lines on soccer fields, performing janitorial work, cleaning parks and other activities. The police department also organizes a monthly meeting of north county agencies — the Office of Human Services, District Attorney's office, Veteran's Administration and County Mental Health service providers — to work on connecting homeless people with housing and services. MetLife deemed these partnerships as "Excellence in Civic Engagement" and will award the groups $15,000 to support their joint public-safety efforts. "Collaboration between community-based groups and police departments can reduce crime, stimulate housing and business activity, and improve the quality of life in lower-income neighborhoods," Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation, stated in a press release. "The Palo Alto partnership is an exemplary model for groups nationwide facing similar challenges and opportunities."

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