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April 28, 2008
Helping hand

Gotham Gigs

HARRIET KARR-MCDONALD has spent the past two decades helping the homeless get jobs. She runs the Ready, Willing & Able program, which she co-founded, for The Doe Fund, a nonprofit.

LIVING REALITY A former Hollywood writer and producer, Ms. Karr-McDonald came to New York in 1990 to work on a screenplay about homeless people living in Grand Central. Affected by what she saw, she moved here soon after to dedicate her life to getting homeless individuals off the streets.

CLEAN STREETS The program helps men referred by the Bellevue men's shelter. Ms. Karr-McDonald and her staff provide education, vocational and computer training, and social services to these men, as well as to parolees recently released from prison. In return, the participants, dressed in blue uniforms, work as street cleaners. They cover 160 miles each day.

MOVING ON After six to nine months in the program, participants are able to graduate and start the next chapter of their lives. "A lot of what we do is true preparation [to help them] be independent," explains Ms. Karr-McDonald.

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