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Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Avella presents the grant to Wildcat on May 4

A $100,000 grant allocated to a nonprofit organization that gives job opportunities to unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers will help ensure the northeast Queens community looks its best.

Local organization Wildcat has a crew six days a week working on graffiti removal in areas of Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck and Whitestone. The crew started their services in April.

A $100,000 grant for the services was allocated to the organization by state Senator Tony Avella, whose Senate district will be covered. He announced the funding on May 3.

Graffiti removal is being focused first on the area’s commercial districts and “will expand outward,” according to Avella. Constituents with locations in mind can contact the senator’s office, and staff members will forward the requests to Wildcat.

Workers will also work to beautify the area’s green spaces and streets and rid them of litter.

The state senator used the organization’s services on a trial run this past winter to assist with his snow removal for seniors program. The funding will go toward continuing that partnership, as well.

David Saturn, director of Wildcat, noted the organization hires people who are previously incarcerated, coming off public assistance or with disabilities. He called the partnership “a win-win situation.”

“The community gets cleaned and [the employees] do a tremendous job,” Saturn said. “We’re providing jobs for people with barriers … And we’re improving the quality of life for everyone in the community.”

The funding allocation will last until March 30, 2019.

“It’s a wonderful situation when we can find help from our government to get services we need,” said Tom Palma, president of the College Point Board of Trade. “College Point needed it and we’re getting some of those services. We are very thankful for this.”

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