This week, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the Association of the Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE)—a nonprofit organization that offers homeless people jobs and other services—announced a pilot program that will provide jobs for recovering homeless people to clean the streets of Jamaica.
Jamaica Together is a six-month program that will provide weekly cleanup services along Guy Brewer Boulevard between Tuskegee Airmen Way and 109th Avenue. Two full-time cleaning workers will be assigned to the corridor per shift, focusing on the cleaning of sidewalks and tree pits and the removal of graffiti.
Local leaders have noted that Jamaica is currently undergoing a transformation. This renaissance is being aided by a state grant through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the Jamaica NOW Action Plan that was developed by Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office to assist in the community’s revitalization.
As Councilwoman Adrienne Adams—one of the co-sponsors of the new cleanup program along Guy R. Brewer Boulevard—put it, “Clean streets and sidewalks are parting of building welcoming, vibrant communities. As Jamaica continues to undergo a transformation, our streets provide the first impressions of our city.”
We think this new program is a win-win. It helps to spruce up the streets of Jamaica by removing trash and graffiti, while also providing jobs and training to local residents who are in need of a helping hand. Katz, ACE and the initiative’s other co-sponsors—which include Adams, Councilman I. Daneek Miller, Community Board 12, the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council and city Department of Sanitation—should be commended for supporting the project.
Jamaica’s future is full of potential, and we’re glad to see city and state leaders and nonprofits investing in the community.