With $61,800 in discretionary funding, The Doe Fund workers have already started to clean up the sidewalks along Myrtle Avenue from Cooper Avenue to Fresh Pond Road in Glendale and Ridgewood.
As of July 22, crews were also working on Grand Avenue from 61st to 74th streets three days a week as part of the yearlong initiative.
“It was the sixth budget that I’ve been a part of as a City Council member, and I can tell you it was the fairest of all the budgets I was a part of passing,” Crowley said. “Now as a part of this budget we will receive much needed help in keeping our commercial districts clean.”
Clean-up crews will sweep, pick up litter and empty trashcans along the avenues.
“The litter has been a source of complaints to our office for so many years,” she said. “This is just the beginning of what we’ve been able to fund here in the 30th District.”
The Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald joined Crowley last week to congratulate her on the funding, but to also assure the work will be diligent and for a good cause.
“By choosing The Doe Fund’s ‘men in blue’ to service Myrtle Avenue and the surrounding area, Ms. Crowley is leading by example, providing our men the opportunity and work they need to transform their lives, while improving the cleanliness and safety of the district’s streets,” McDonald said.
Workers in the program are formerly homeless men, some with addiction issues, who are given a place to live, rehab services if necessary, and a job. they are paid $10.63 per hour as a starting salary, and clean the streets in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.
“This is just the start of a path where they start to climb the economic ladder like everyone else in America,” he said. “It gives them an economic opportunity like they’ve never had before.”
Warner Lehner, owner of Zum Stammtisch at 69-46 Myrtle Avenue, said while the community has come a long way, one underlying problem he says everyone shares is the garbage and litter.
“Unfortunately you see people walk right by the garbage can and it winds up on the floor,” Lehner said. “I’ll send my people out here to clean also, but for us to get a little extra help in the area and to get rid of that eyesore is great for the area.”
Dave Daraio, president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, said he is happy to see The Doe Fund back in the community.
“They do a great job and when we lost them everyone noticed the difference right away,” Daraio said. “They make such a difference in the neighborhood.”