By Bill Parry
The Doe Fund is coming to Broadway.
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) welcomed the so-called “Men in Blue” to Elmhurst Tuesday where they will begin cleaning the bustling roadway just south of the transit hub, from 72nd Street to 77th Street on Fridays through Mondays.
“This is a massive effort to clean up the neighborhood and make it look great,” Dromm said. “Keeping our streets clean is a major quality-of -life issue hat I take very seriously and is a top priority. These additional services along Broadway will keep this busy Elmhurst thoroughfare cleaner than it has ever been before!”
Dromm has allocated $68,000 in funding to expand the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing and Able program from Jackson Heights where they have actively cleaned Roosevelt Avenue and Diversity Plaza.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), who represents a section of Elmhurst, hailed extending the service into the neighborhood.
“How a community looks is so important to the entire economy and to the social fabric of a community,” she said. “How it looks to people coming off that subway is important. When a neighborhood looks clean, it stays clean and people will come and shop here and use the restaurants.”
City Department of Sanitation Community Affairs Officer Iggy Terranova was on hand to welcome the workers to the neighborhood.
“At DSNY one of our main goals is keeping the sidewalks clean for our residents and visitors,” he said. “The Doe Fund is such an added bonus to what we do and we enjoy working with them.”
The Doe Fund teams are formerly homeless or unemployed men who participate in a nine- to 12-month work program. After several months of street cleaning, the workers will spend the rest of the time training at the fund, earning certificates to get better jobs upon graduation.
“The ‘men in blue’ who will service this beautiful district are all on a journey,” Doe Fund founder George McDonald said. “It starts with street cleaning, but that’s not where it ends. These men have the chance they need to fully recover from homelessness and unemployment and lead productive and self-sufficient lives. We promise to do our part to keep these streets and sidewalks clean and safe for all our neighbors to enjoy.”
State Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) called the situation a win-win in a statement, adding, “We’ll not only improve sanitation in our area, we’ll help fellow New Yorkers who’ve experienced chronic unemployment re-enter the workforce.”
Dromm hailed the Doe Fund saying, “There is dignity in work and that makes a difference in people’s lives.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.