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August 28, 2014
Doe Fund cleaners come to Dutch Kills

The non-profit, which helps formerly homeless and incarcerated men land street cleaning jobs, begins another contract in Queens Thursday as part of a citywide expansion.

by Eli Rosenberg

Call it a clean sweep.

The Doe Fund’s street cleaning crews, made up of formerly homeless or recently incarcerated men, will start its new Dutch Kills gig Thursday — the nonprofit’s fifth new contract in Queens this year.

Workers will tackle trash on Fifth St. between 46th and 51st Aves. three times a week, as part of a $33,000 contract with City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

The group’s presence is now in 10 Council districts in Queens, which is up from six in 2013.

The increase in the crew’s services comes after the City Council approved $3.5 million for cleaning initiatives.

The Doe Fund has more than tripled its revenue, as 26 lawmakers throughout the city now contract the nonprofit — up from nine in 2013.

That’s 100 new positions, which for many is the first job they’ve had in a while, Doe Fund spokesman Alexander Horwitz said.

The group aims to transition workers to other careers after one to three months of trash duty, which starts at about $8.20 an hour.

“A lot of guys feel like they love it and will stay longer,” Horwitz said.

Local leaders hailed the new pickup program.

“Many of our members complain about high levels of trash in the area,” Dutch Kills Civic Association president Dominic Stiller said.

“We’re happy to see boots on the ground attacking the problem.”


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