The “offensive to take back Merrick Boulevard” has begun.
Councilmember Donovan Richards has allocated $50,000 for the Doe Fund to work through the district, beautifying its trash-ridden streets.
The Doe Fund is a nonprofit that helps formerly homeless, incarcerated and/or troubled individuals achieve self-sufficiency by providing transitional work, housing, life skills and more.
Its hope is to break the cycle of homelessness, addiction and criminal recidivism.
The Doe Fund’s flagship program, Ready Willing & Able, currently cleans more than 150 miles of city streets every day as a transitional employment opportunity for participants.
Now, the crew has come to Laurelton and two people will work Fridays and Sundays, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., on Merrick Boulevard from 219th Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard.
“Certain days, it looks like a pigsty on this boulevard and it does not reflect the beauty of this community,” Richards said.
“I want to be very clear that although I’m funding this program, sanitation still has a job to do – to ensure storeowners are keeping their storefronts clean,” he added. “We are not going to subsidize you being lazy.”
Members of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton said they have voluntarily tried to clean the boulevard themselves but “it’s a stretch,” and they “appreciate” the Doe Fund’s presence.
Richards hopes to gradually extend the program through his district and also spruce up the area’s “green streets” and regulate parking – all with the hopes to enhance area business and improve overall quality of life.