In response to the citywide budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the $1.6 million that was slashed from the Department of Sanitation affecting public wastebasket collection and litter removal, Councilman Robert Holden is reallocating discretionary funds toward another nonprofit organization to help keep his district clean.
On Sept. 2, the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) began clearing commercial corridors seven days a week, including Flushing Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, and Myrtle Avenue.
Holden officially announced his partnership with ACE on Sept. 16. The Long Island City-based organization will focus on cleaning up litter, overflowing wastebaskets and other garbage along these corridors, while also clearing snow from catch basins and sidewalk cutouts at crosswalks, and occasional graffiti removal.
“The economic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our city can be seen daily in the growing amount of litter and pikes of garbage from overflowing wastebaskets on our streets and sidewalks,” Holden said. “We cannot allow our environment and quality of life to suffer, so I am proud to bring more cleaning services to my communities to make up for what was lost. The addition of ACE will build upon the work that the Wildcat Service Corp. has been doing for many years, while also providing jobs to those that need them most, and I look forward to continuing this partnership with them in the future.”
Holden is also reallocating funds from his discretionary budget to bring back Sunday wastebasket collection for the Department of Sanitation.
“We are pleased to partner with Council member Holden to provide additional services to enhance cleaning efforts of busy streets in the 30th District of Queens,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said. “I thank Council member Holden for his continued support of the Department and for helping us keep New York City clean, especially by arranging for extra litter basket service in the busiest areas of his district.”
ACE works with homeless men and women throughout New York City to provide job training, experience and a support network to help program participants re-establish economic independence.
“ACE could not be more thrilled to work with Council member Holden to keep the sidewalks and streets of District 30 clean through the NYC Cleanup Initiative,” ACE Executive Director James Martin said. “Queens is ACE’s home borough and we are proud to play a role in keeping these neighborhood streets looking their best for the residents, businesses and visitors to enjoy. Through this initiative, Council member Holden is doing more than just keeping our streets clean, he’s offering employment to hard-working New Yorkers who have overcome barriers like homelessness, addiction and incarceration. ACE is fortunate to call Council member Holden a partner.”
Holden’s district includes Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside.