Urban Alchemy: A Way To Transform Troubled Communities
Every urban city has certain areas that are generally known to be worth avoiding. Police do occasional sweeps, moving homeless people out temporarily, making arrests for vagrancy, public intoxication, and sometimes more violent crimes. San Francisco and other cities are taking a new approach to helping fractured communities heal and grow. It involves nearly 1,200 practitioners out on the streets—social justice soldiers who are well acquainted with street life and prison and who are committed to making things better.
The goal of Urban Alchemy is to impact poverty, mental illness, addiction, and poverty in a positive way. When neighborhoods—or even single streets or street corners—have become scary, avoidable spots on the maps, Urban Alchemy strives to create a presence filled with peace and support, ultimately restoring a sense of respect and pride to the locations and communities. Former convicts, mostly those who have served life sentences, accomplish this through genuine empathy: they truly relate to the dismissal and disrespect that society heaps on struggling and “undesirable” citizens. Urban Alchemy works with city leaders to provide support and kindness to those who need it most as they clean up streets and show love and compassion to the neediest on those streets.
The Urban Alchemy team is composed of individuals who have hit rock bottom, served their time, and want to give back. Their instincts guide them in their interactions with those on the streets. Understanding regret and shame, their reach goes well beyond providing services as they share character and courage in each encounter. Beyond compassion, practitioners are prepared with practical interventions too. They each carry Naloxone—a fast-acting medicine that is used to reverse overdoses from opioids. They can also guide needy individuals to a clean bed, a shower, and other necessities. Instead of locking up the most desperate in our communities, they try to provide a bit of hope and guidance.
Statistics Tell the Story
How much impact can a group of ex-cons have in transforming city streets without the assistance of local police? The results are in, and they are truly inspirational:
- Nearly 1 million flushes;
- 15,000 showers provided to needy individuals;
- Over 400 guests who get a safe place to sleep each night;
- Eight sites providing a bed for the night;
- Nearly 70,000 positive community engagements;
- Over 5,500 interventions that led to de-escalation;
- Upwards of 300 tons of garbage picked up and properly disposed of;
- Almost 50,000 needles collected and properly disposed of;
- Over 600 lives saved.
Criminal Justice in Las Vegas
Urban Alchemy does not exist in Nevada, leaving local police to address many issues for which they are ill-equipped. Without question, incarceration is not an answer to all of society’s ills. At Lobo Law, our dedicated Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys are committed to achieving the highest levels of justice possible for our clients. If you are facing criminal charges, we will fight on your behalf. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.