April 26, 2018 By Tara Law
Two additional workers will sweep the streets and empty garbage cans along sections of Roosevelt Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard for the next year, State Sen. Jose Peralta announced last week.
Peralta secured $75,000 of state funds to hire the workers, who will be cleaning up the area in addition to the services offered by the Department of Sanitation. This is the second year in a row that Peralta has secured state funding for the program.
The workers are employed by the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless, a non-profit group that helps homeless people get back into the workforce.
The cleaning services will take place on Roosevelt Avenue between 82nd and 90th Streets, and Ditmars Boulevard from the Grand Central Parkway to the intersection with Astoria Boulevard, including the overpasses at 27th Avenue and 31st Drive.
The cleaners will work five days a week along Roosevelt Avenue and four days a week along Ditmars Boulevard, with one or both of the employees on duty seven days a week.
Peralta praised the program for giving the homeless the opportunity to gain experience and employment while simultaneously improving the quality of life in the community.
“As we are facing a homeless crisis in the City, it is imperative that we help New Yorkers get back on their feet. And one way of doing this is by helping those who are less fortunate with job training, work experience and ultimately a full-time job,” said Peralta.
Peralta said that the program will benefit not only the participants, but the entire community.
“These workers will contribute to improving the quality of life in active thoroughfares, attracting more visitors and shoppers to the areas,” said Peralta.
ACE helps 400 to 450 homeless or formerly homeless men and women from across the city to get job training, finding housing and reenter the workforce each year said Executive Director Jim Martin.
While some ACE participants are immediately ready to reenter the workforce, said Martin, ACE’s “supported employment” program is intended for men and women who are facing obstacles to finding jobs. Participants work full or part-time while receiving guidance and additional training from ACE.
“The goal is to get them to come to work every day,” said Martin. “They’re the guys that struggle and need support to find employment.”
Although the work is “not easy,” said Martin, the majority of program volunteers value the opportunity.
“The guys that are here want to be here,” he said.