'Jamaica Together' brings street cleanings and employment opportunities to formerly homeless – QNS.com

‘Jamaica Together’ brings street cleanings and employment opportunities to formerly homeless

Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

The latest in a series of revitalization efforts in downtown Jamaica brings cleaner streets and some new jobs for those in need.

On May 1, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and local leaders announced the launch of the “Jamaica Together” cleaning initiative. The pilot program will bring cleaning services to the Guy R. Brewer Boulevard corridor between Tuskegee Airmen Way and 109th Avenue and will run until Oct. 30.

The cleaning services will be provided by full-time workers paid by the Association of Community Employment Programs (ACE), a nonprofit organization that works to provide the city’s recovering homeless individuals with work experience, support services and motivation. The workers will focus on cleaning sidewalks and tree pits and removing unwanted graffiti from walls and public areas, according to Katz.

The program is also co-sponsored by the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council, community leaders charged with implementing the Jamaica NOW Action Plan. Developed by Katz and the de Blasio administration, the $153 million plan seeks to revitalize the neighborhood by bringing in additional housing, commercial space and other improvements.

The press conference took place outside of the Thomas White Jr. Foundation’s headquarters on Tuskegee Airmen Way, where cleaning supplies for the program will be stored.

The initiative is also co-sponsored by Councilman I. Daneek Miller, Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, Community Board 12 and the city’s Department of Sanitation, who will make additional visits to the neighborhood to pick up the excess trash.

Jamaica, a “community on the move,” will be well-served by the cleanup program, Katz said.

“It’s an exciting time here in Jamaica, Queens,” Katz said. “This is what happens when you have a community working together.”

“We’re just thrilled to have an opportunity to help more folks,” said James Martin, executive director of ACE. “Neighborhoods are defined by the cleanliness of their streets. We hope to make this a place where folks want to visit and live, continue to live, and work and play, and at the same time, give folks a second chance to work and live independently.”

Jamaica was also recently awarded an additional $10 million grant from the state as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Jamaica presser (4)

Jamaica presser (1)


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