A group of adults who are ready, willing and able – pun intended – to clean commercial corridors in the east Bronx’s 13th Council District are here!
Councilman Jimmy Vacca announced a one-year agreement with the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing and Able program at Keane Square Park on Tuesday, August 19.
Ready, Willing, and Able’s cleaning crews are made up of formerly homeless men who are themselves beginning a year-long process of transitional work, education, housing and career development.
They will service streets and sidewalks along major shopping strips in Vacca’s district. This should improve cleanliness and safety throughout the community, stated a Vacca spokesman.
“I am proud to have allocated funds to create the first partnership with The DOE Fund in the Bronx,” said Vacca. “This is a win for everyone involved – our communities become cleaner, more pleasant places to live, and these men are able to get back on their feet and perform vital services for their city.”
He added: “I can think of nothing better than beautifying my district while also providing jobs and training to those most in need.”
Ready, Willing and Able have done street cleaning projects in the Bronx before, said a Vacca spokesman, but this is the first time that their crews have had a sustained effort in the borough.
“We are absolutely thrilled to support Councilmember Vacca and his vision for a cleaner community here in District 13,” said The Doe Fund’s president and founder, George McDonald. “It’s fitting that our first Bronx partnership would be with a native of the borough who has absolutely dedicated his life to serving the residents of this community. We couldn’t be prouder to join him.”
The people of the communities Vacca serves seemed supportive of the overall goals of having cleaner major streets.
“I think it is wonderful that they are going to come in and try to clean up the litter in the streets,” said Steve Kaufman, president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association. “Whatever help we can get is important.”
Joe Oddo, treasurer of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association, said that any investment in the community that is visible and also leaves visible results afterwards is a good thing.
“When people come to visit and revisit the neighborhood, and they see something like the DOE Fund cleaning sidewalks, it reassuring,” he said. “It gives people a good feeling. They feel that the neighborhood is not abandoned, that someone is taking care of it.”
Perspective tenants almost invariably scan the streets outside looking for signs of decay when renting apartments, said Oddo, a landlord.
“The Doe Fund can only help,” he added.