Tag Archives: Doe Fund

Doe Fund to continue cleaning the streets of Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz's office.

The streets of central Queens will continue to shine.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz announced Wednesday that she secured $123,000 to renew The Doe Fund services to clean up the streets of select parts of Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, according to the councilwoman’s office.

The Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people and is also in other parts of Queens, cleans the sidewalks and picks up the trash on Austin Street and Continental Avenue in Forest Hills. In Rego Park, workers maintain the area from 63rd Drive to Alderton Street along Queens Boulevard. And in Kew Gardens and Forest Hills they are on Metropolitan Avenue from Lefferts Boulevard to Woodhaven Boulevard.

“I am so pleased that we are able to continue using The Doe Fund,” Koslowitz said. “Commercial strips are being cleaned by men and women who are transitioning from difficult circumstances to productive lives. This is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Tiebreaker Productions, a musical concerts promoter at the West Side Tennis Club, donated an extra $27,122 to the Doe Fund.

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Vallone allocates $68K for Doe Fund to clean Bayside, College Point


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $68,000 to contract The Doe Fund to clean up the streets, according to the councilman’s spokesman.

As part of the 2015 council budget, Vallone was given the money to spend on cleaning initiatives in Bayside and the surrounding neighborhoods within his council district, according to a spokesman for Vallone. And he plans on concentrating cleaning efforts on College Point Boulevard in College Point and Bell Boulevard in Bayside, where The Doe Fund will be charged with power washing the sidewalks, sweeping the sidewalks and replacing trash bins.

“Clean sidewalks and litter-free streets are a big part of our quality of life,” Vallone said. “The money allocated for The Doe Fund will go a long way to beautifying and maintaining College Point Boulevard and Bell Boulevard, two of the most important and widely used commercial strips in my district.“

According to Vallone’s spokesman, College Point Boulevard between 14th and 23rd avenues is in particular need of cleaning because of the stained, blackened sidewalks and the abundance of litter. Another spot that they will be concentrating on is Bell Boulevard between 35th Avenue to 45th Drive.

The Doe Fund’s street cleaning crews, made up of formerly homeless or recently incarcerated men, will start the cleaning job on Oct. 1 and continue until June 30, 2015. According to Vallone’s spokesman, there will be four workers covering the areas three days a week.

The Doe Fund’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.

Vallone is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday, Sept. 22, to announce the cleaning initiative with Doe’s founder, George McDonald.

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Doe Fund to help Astoria clean up the trash


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilman Costa Constantinides' Office

After numerous complaints about trash from residents, the streets of Astoria are getting a much needed cleaning.

The Doe Fund has been brought to the western Queens neighborhood to help keep the sidewalks clean and clear the corner trash cans, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Friday.

The nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program, started cleaning Astoria Tuesday, beginning at 31st Street, 30th Avenue and Broadway.

“[The Doe Fund] will help make our streets cleaner and more navigable to residents and visitors,” Constantinides said. “This was one of the major issues that I campaigned on last year during the election and I am happy to be able to deliver on my promise to bring cleaner streets to my constituents.”

Once a day the Department of Sanitation collects garbage from the corner trash cans, however, littered streets have caused problems in the neighborhood, such as sidewalk accessibility and shopping issues.

“Bringing the Doe Fund to our neighborhood is a big step forward in keeping Astoria’s streets clean,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “There is plenty more to do and we will keep the pressure on the Department of Sanitation until we no longer have a trash problem, but today we celebrate a substantial step in the right direction.

 

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Councilmember Costa Constantinides wants government to work for his constituents


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Councilmember Costa Constantinides wants his constituents to know he is here for them and plans on keeping his two campaign promises – to work hard for them and never lie.

It has been almost four weeks since Constantinides began his position as District 22’s newest councilmember representing Astoria and parts of Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

From moving into his brand new office, located at 31-09 Newton Ave. in Astoria, to going around meeting his constituents and introducing himself to the community, Constantinides has been busy.

“I understand the work the people in this district have sent me to City Hall to do and I’m making sure their voice is continually heard at City Hall and that’s my job,” he said during an interview with The Courier.

The freshman legislator refers to his new office as the “people’s house” and encourages his constituents to stop by.

“It’s real easy to hear how I’m doing,” he said. “I take a lot of cues from my constituents on the ground as to how things are really working out in the district.”

His plans for the district include working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to bring ferry service to western Queens and also create what he calls a “multi-module transportation system,” including bike lanes and increased bus service.

Constantinides also plans to work on improving schools in the district, whether it be helping reduce subway noise congestion at P.S. 85 or discussing with the Department of Education technological upgrades to bring schools to the 21st century.

Constantinides also wants to introduce a bill requiring corner garbage pickup at the end of every business day, and bring The Doe Fund to the area to help keep the community clean.

Constantinides will hold his inauguration ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Long Island City High School, located at 14-30 Broadway, starting at 3 p.m.

“I think we have a great staff,” he said. “We’re really excited to get out to the neighborhood. We’re really going to be out in the community, hearing concerns that our neighbors have and finding ways to address those concerns. We’re going to be active in being out in the community and being a resource for them to make government better.”

 

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Jackson Heights plaza to get $500K in enhancements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

One Jackson Heights plaza is getting a little extra help to fully shine in the community.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm recently announced he will allocate $500,000 in capital funds for enhancements to the 37th Road Pedestrian Plaza known as Diversity Plaza.

“Diversity Plaza has become an integral part of our community,” said Dromm.

“These improvements will go a long way to build out an asset that our community has come to adopt as a town square. Despite its slightly rocky start, this truly is the ‘little plaza that could.’”

The funding will allow the plaza, which is still in its design phase, to include seating, lighting and other features. Other amenities will also include the installment of community maps, guiding residents and visitors to local businesses around the neighborhood.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has also reserved $2 million to provide extra improvements to the plaza, including a public pay toilet, permanent seating and an improved street surface. Later this fall, Dromm’s office and the DOT will set up a meeting at which the public will have the chance to give their opinions on the amenities.

“Diversity Plaza is a result of tremendous community effort, from the intensive transportation planning sessions that developed it, to the efforts of the local merchants and civic groups that are now sustaining it,” said Andy Wiley-Schwarts, Assistant Commissioner for Public Space at the DOT. “We look forward to working with Councilmember Dromm and the Jackson Heights community to build a safe, beautiful public space for generations to enjoy.”

The councilmember also secured $10,000 in discretionary funding to include the services of the Horticultural Society and ACE New York, which will offer a monthly power washing and horticulture care as part of daily maintenance and cleaning services for the plaza. Dromm had already allocated $60,000 to the Doe Fund to clean both the plaza and surrounding area.

The nonprofit organization SUKHI New York was founded to become the plaza partner and take care of maintenance and events.

“We are eager to involve the broader Jackson Heights community in a discussion about what they would like to see on their plaza,” said Shazia Kauser, president and one of the founders of SUKHI New York.

In the past months, the plaza has hosted the first ever open-air community board meeting with Community Board 3 and a series of short films as part of the Queens World Film Festival.

 

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$50G allocated for the Doe Fund to help clean up Merrick Boulevard


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The “offensive to take back Merrick Boulevard” has begun.

Councilmember Donovan Richards has allocated $50,000 for the Doe Fund to work through the district, beautifying its trash-ridden streets.

The Doe Fund is a nonprofit that helps formerly homeless, incarcerated and/or troubled individuals achieve self-sufficiency by providing transitional work, housing, life skills and more.

Its hope is to break the cycle of homelessness, addiction and criminal recidivism.

The Doe Fund’s flagship program, Ready Willing & Able, currently cleans more than 150 miles of city streets every day as a transitional employment opportunity for participants.

Now, the crew has come to Laurelton and two people will work Fridays and Sundays, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., on Merrick Boulevard from 219th Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard.

“Certain days, it looks like a pigsty on this boulevard and it does not reflect the beauty of this community,” Richards said.

“I want to be very clear that although I’m funding this program, sanitation still has a job to do – to ensure storeowners are keeping their storefronts clean,” he added. “We are not going to subsidize you being lazy.”

Members of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton said they have voluntarily tried to clean the boulevard themselves but “it’s a stretch,” and they “appreciate” the Doe Fund’s presence.

Richards hopes to gradually extend the program through his district and also spruce up the area’s “green streets” and regulate parking – all with the hopes to enhance area business and improve overall quality of life.

 

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LIC, Hunters Point get $65G to clean up streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

The streets of Long Island City and Hunters Point are getting cleaner.

On July 31, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced $65,000 to expand The Doe Fund’s street cleaning initiative to Hunters Point and Long Island City. The streets involved in the program are along Vernon Boulevard from 50th to 45th Avenue, and 11th Street from 50th to 45th Avenue.

“The cleanliness of the streets is one of the biggest concerns, one of the most frequent issues that we hear about here in the neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. “We want the streets of Hunters Point and Long Island City to be cleaner, we want them to be as clean as possible.”

Under this initiative, Doe Fund workers will be on the streets for three days a week, six hours each day. The workers will sweep the sidewalks from the property lines to the curb and gutters, remove and replace trash bags, clean out cigarette butts and other garbage from the cracks in the sidewalk, remove posters and graffiti from fire hydrants, lights poles and mailboxes, and also straighten newspaper distribution boxes at intersections.

“This is just the beginning, we are opened to expanding the program as we did with Woodside this year,” said Van Bramer. “First we want to see if it works and how well it works.”

Last year, Van Bramer allocated $31,000 to The Doe Fund for a street cleaning program in Woodside that placed a maintenance team on streets along Roosevelt Avenue from 51st to 61st Street, 61st Street from Roosevelt to 39th Avenue, and Woodside Avenue from 58th to 60th Street.

The program will now expand the Woodside initiative along Roosevelt Avenue up to 64th Street.

“I’m fully confident that, as we have in numerous neighborhoods across the city and now in Woodside, we’ll be able to bring these really wonderful and beautiful streets into the Long Island City and Hunters Point area,” said Ray Damm, director of The Doe Fund’s community improvement project.

According to Sheila Lewandowki, executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater and member of Community Board 2, many residents have voiced their concerns of dirt and dust from construction. She said The Doe Fund will help residents feel safer and cleaner.

“The community board will hear fewer complaints because of the great work of The Doe Fund,” said Lewandowski.

 

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Six months after Sandy, Charles Park gets clean-up


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File phoot

Frank M. Charles Memorial Park is getting spruced up.

With Sandy debris lingering nearly six months after the storm, Councilmember Eric Ulrich has partnered with the Doe Fund to help clean up the community park, which is run under the auspices of by Gateway National Recreation Area.

Nine “men in blue” from the Doe Fund, which finds work for homeless men and women, will help remove debris in what is considered a neighborhood park, although it’s under the National Park Service (NPS) umbrella.

Ulrich said he reached out to George McDonald, president and founder of the Doe Fund, after coverage of the park’s worsened condition following the storm.

“This was a reaction to the published newspaper reports about the terrible conditions in Charles Park,” Ulrich said.

The councilmember said further pressure had to be put on NPS to secure that Charles Park and other parts of Gateway get the same attention that parks across the country do.

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Ulrich said of the delayed clean up, adding it should not have taken a storm like Sandy to bring the park’s conditions to the public eye. “The federal government has to live up to their obligation.”

McDonald, who partnered with Ulrich to bring workers to Broad Channel after the storm, said the program won’t only clean up the park, but give the crew a second chance.

“For the past 25 years, New Yorkers have been so generous to The Doe Fund and to the ‘men in blue’—helping their fellow New Yorkers to re-establish their careers and become fathers to their children,” McDonald said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to give back. I thank Councilmember Ulrich for thinking of us.”

Community Board 10 recently voiced opposition to a proposal from Gateway and NYC Parks Department that listed Charles Park as a possible site for concession stands, bike terminals or kayak launching bays. Board members first want the park to be cleaned up, and get more outreach from Gateway, before anything else comes in.

“It’s my understanding that Doe fund is volunteering labor to do it, which is certainly commendable,” said board chair Elizabeth Braton. “However, it does not remove the obligation of the Parks Service to provide continuous, ongoing maintenance at the facilities they are responsible for.”

 

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Doe Fund cleans up Broad Channel


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Broad Channel is seeing blue.

Nine workers from the Doe Fund, dubbed “the men in blue,” will help clean up a two-mile stretch of Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel, as the island still continues to recover nearly four months after Sandy hit.

The cleanup effort, which officially began on Friday, February 15, will run from the foot of the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge to the American Legion Post 1404.

The Doe Fund gives homeless men and women a second chance by providing jobs and starting a new life. Staten Island, Coney Island and the Rockaways have been other areas the Doe Fund has cleaned up in wake of the storm. The men will pick up the roadside trash and haul it on to Department of Sanitation trucks.

“The garbage and the litter and the debris are still here,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich. “People are going to be so impressed. They’re [the workers] going to do a top-notch job.”

Ulrich said he reached out to Doe Fund chair George McDonald two weeks ago to help clean up Broad Channel’s main thoroughfare, which is still littered with debris. Flanked by Doe Fund members and representatives from the National Park Service and the Department of Sanitation, Ulrich said the “Men in Blue” would be on Cross Bay Boulevard, picking up trash until the job is done. The goal, he added, is to have Cross Bay back to its pre-storm look, if not better.

Cross Bay Boulevard is the first view of the Rockaways visitors get and the road needed to keep that vista positive, Ulrich said.

The relationship between the Doe Fund and south Queens goes back to long before the storm, according to Community Board 14 chair Dolores Orr. The organization helps clean up Beach 116th street, an economic hub in Rockaway, every spring, Orr said.

“It’s equally important for the residents trying to recover themselves,” Orr said.

McDonald, who’s also running as a Republican for mayor, said the men and women of the organization were hard workers and dedicated to getting their life back on track.

“It’s on behalf of all the citizens of New York that we come here and help clean up,” McDonald said. “We are thrilled to be able to give back. I know this partnership is going to do great things for this community and I thank Councilmember Ulrich for thinking of us.”

 

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Quinn increases mayoral lead in new poll


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Official NYC City Council photo by William Alatriste

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Christine Quinn’s chances of becoming the next mayor of New York City seem more likely, a new survey finds.

A NY1-Marist poll found that City Council Speaker, who has not formally announced her candidacy, is heavily favored by 37 percent of registered Democrats in the city, up from 23 percent in October,

Quinn gave her last State of the City address as speaker on Tuesday, February 12 where she focused on the middle class.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson is far behind in second with 13 percent and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is currently in third with 12 percent.

On the Republican side, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota holds an advantage with 20 percent of registered Republicans favoring his run for mayor. George McDonald, founder of the Doe Fund, a charity that supports the homeless, is currently in second with eight percent of the vote, followed by billionaire John Catsimatidis with five percent.

 

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MTA head Joe Lhota resigns to explore mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Following the MTA board’s approval of his fare hike proposal, CEO and Chairman Joe Lhota announced that he will resign, effective December 31, to consider running for New York City mayor in 2013.

At the announcement, Lhota said that he would make “no further comment” on his mayoral candidacy until early January, when he will announce his decision.

The approved fare and toll changes, which raise the MetroCard base and unlimited fares, reduce the discount, as well as increases ticket prices on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and raise tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels, are Lhota’s last hoorah as the agency’s head, and could conceivably hurt his chances among voters.

Post-Sandy polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers were pleased with how the MTA responded to the superstorm and its aftermath, but voters are fed up with the frequent fare hikes.

His party could also be an obstacle.

After two decades, the city will likely have a Democratic mayor again.

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that if Lhota ran for mayor as a Republican he would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate 60 to nine percent. Forty-five percent of those surveyed also disapproved of how Lhota is handling his job as the head of the MTA.

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for his first two terms as a Republican before switching to an Independent before his third run, is expected to endorse City Council Speaker and Democrat Christine Quinn, and reportedly even asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run.

Another former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, however, is expected to endorse Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani also reportedly encouraged him to run.

The MTA chair also worked in investment banking, was an executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, and served as the city’s budget director and commissioner of finance, before Governor

Andrew Cuomo appointed him as head of the transit agency in November 2011.

Before facing a Democrat, Lhota needs to win the Republican primary, where he could run against newspaper publisher Tom Allon, billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald.

The same November Quinnipiac poll also found that Lhota would lose to Carrión 62 to 11 percent.

 

Doe Fund coming to Union Turnpike


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Fresh Meadows restaurant owner Ed Moore said the excessive litter and overflowing garbage cans along Union Turnpike were more than a mess — they were an embarrassment.

“It’s an eyesore, especially when St. John’s had their graduation, which was on Mother’s Day. There are 20,000 people coming to see their kids graduate from all over the country, and they’re going to come here and see this? That’s a reflection on us as New Yorkers,” said Moore, owner of the Sly Fox Inn.

Moore said the repulsive refuse problem along the area’s key commercial corridor was caused by too many fast food restaurants on the retail strip and not enough city sanitation pickup.

But residents and business owners can breathe easy after Councilmember James Gennaro allocated $30,000 to bring the Doe Fund to the garbage-strewn major street.

The Doe Fund employs homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals as part of a program fostering private employment and independent living, said Ray Damm, director of the fund’s community improvement project. Workers usually focus on litter removal from sidewalks and gutters.

“This is the great opportunity for people to build work experience while helping our neighborhood look its best,” Gennaro said.

The allocations also include an additional “green function,” the councilmember said, which allows workers to mulch and maintain sidewalk tree pits and collect used cooking oil from two local restaurants for recycling into biodiesel.

“We’re helping people who are looking for work. It’s such a great example of what New York City is about — focusing on local and helping people who need a little extra help. To me, it’s so symbolic of what has made this city great,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Doe Fund services will cover the commercial district between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway, Gennaro said. The area will be cleaned three times a week in addition to already established city sanitation services.

“There will never be litter on the streets of Union ever again,” Gennaro said.