The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
718-274-4500

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2014
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Constantinides Brings Doe Fund to Astoria

Astoria, N.Y. – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced that his office has brought the Doe Fund to Astoria to keep sidewalks and corner trash cans cleaner and litter-free. The Doe Fund began cleaning 31st Street, 30th Avenue, and Broadway starting April 1, 2014.

“When I speak with constituents, the issue I hear them discussing time and again is trash and litter,” said Constantinides. “That’s why I decided to call on the Doe Fund. They will help make our streets cleaner and more navigable to residents and visitors. 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. ”

Senator Michael Gianaris said, “Bringing the Doe Fund to our neighborhood is a big step forward in keeping Astoria’s streets clean. I have worked non-stop with Councilman Constantinides and Assemblywoman Simotas to ensure our streets are kept free of litter and other garbage. 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. Our Councilman deserves our thanks for that.”

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said, “I am happy to welcome innovative solutions as part of our ongoing effort to keep Astoria beautiful. Over the past few months we have been working extensively to make sure our streets and sidewalks are free from trash and today’s announcement takes us one step closer towards reaching this important goal.”

Constantinides was joined by Doe Fund founder George McDonald, Community Board 1 General Manager Lucille Hartmann, and other local leaders.

The Doe Fund is an organization that employs recently homeless or incarcerated individuals as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program in which trainees earn stipends above minimum wage.

“We are grateful to partner with Councilman Constantinides to help maintain some of Astoria’s busiest commercial corridors,” said George McDonald, Doe Fund founder. “By bringing The Doe Fund to Astoria, not only does the Councilman provide a valuable service to his constituents, he provides hardworking New Yorkers with a hand up into the economic mainstream.”

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) collects trash from the municipal corner trash cans once per day in Astoria. Trash and littered-streets have plagued the neighborhood for some time, impacting everything from sidewalk accessibility to residents’ shopping habits. Earlier this year, Councilmember Constantinides joined his colleagues NYS Senator Michael Gianaris and NYS Assemblymember Aravella Simotas to call upon the Department of Sanitation to help rectify the litter situation. The Doe Fund will provide reinforcements and additional resources to make the sidewalks cleaner and the corner trash cans clearer for residents and visitors.

“For too long our residents have had to jump over litter on their way to work and small business owners have had to respond to dirty streets instead of focusing on their businesses,” continued Constantinides. “We want to make sure DSNY has reinforcements for expanded street sweeps and keep our corner cans from overflowing onto the sidewalk. This will be a boon to residents and small business owners across Astoria.”

“I am excited to hear that Doe Fund workers are beginning to sweep the streets across Astoria,” said Lucille Hartmann, General Manager of Community Board 1. “The littler-free sidewalks will make our community a more hospitable place for all and will help further the economic growth of Astoria. I commend Councilman Constantinides for taking the lead on this important issue.”

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

Headquartered in New York City, The Doe Fund is a large-scale human services nonprofit that helps 1,000 people every day to better their circumstances through programs providing paid work; workforce development and job placement; transitional, supportive, and permanent housing; drug testing and counseling; and comprehensive social and educational services. All once homeless or incarcerated, the “men in blue” of the organization’s flagship program, Ready, Willing & Able, can be seen cleaning 150 miles of New York City streets every day. This paid transitional work is the first step they take toward self-sufficiency, and they complete Ready, Willing & Able with full-time, permanent employment, apartments of their own, and their sobriety. To learn more, visit www.doe.org, or www.facebook.com/TheDoeFund.

###