After several years of trying to get graffiti power washed from their building, some Morris Park residents are finally realizing their wish.
Tenants at 1541-51 Williamsbridge Road had graffiti on the rear and side of their building power washed by Fedcaps’, funded by Councilman James Vacca.
The cleanup took place on Tuesday, July 28.
Fedcap helps people with barriers to employment find work.
Councilman Vacca said he funds graffiti cleanups and beautification regularly through Fedcap and the Doe Fund in Morris Park and Van Nest.
The particular graffiti he personally helped clean had been on the building for too long, he said.
“Most landlords will remove graffiti,” he said. “Most landlords we contact will work with my office or they will work with the tenant association; I am fortunate in this case that I have resources that I can use to get this accomplished, eventhough the landlord didn’t cooperate.”
Graffiti is a frustrating issue, he said.
Paulette Sorg, the tenant association leader at the building concurred with the councilman on graffiti.
“It takes (the management) two to three years to get around to doing something, and when they do, they just paint over with any color that is available,” she said, pointing out several paint jobs on the buildings with colors that do not match the color of the brick facade.
Sorg said that many nearby structures are the targets of graffiti vandals, including a bridge on Williambridge Road over a Metro North rail line directly across the street from the building, as well as structures along Sackett Avenue, not far from the buikding.
The people working on the graffiti powerwashing project were part of Fedcaps’ Wildcat division, a job-placement specialist company for people who have barriers to employment, such as being formerly incarcerated, homeless or being a child aging out of foster care.
Mario LaRosa, manager of operations, said that efforts like the graffiti cleanup provide not only a job, but also a training experience.
“A lot of the people we have worked with have improved their lives,” said LaRosa, adding that the goal of the program is to build enough jobs skills to make people self-sufficient.
The workers earn $10.10 per hour, and many go on to find permanent housing and permanent jobs, said LaRosa.