Washington Gateway Main Street is contracting with Project Place's facilities maintenance social enterprise, Clean Corners...Bright Hopes, to clean both sides of Washington Street from Herald Street to Melnea Cass Boulevard (the length of the Main Streets district). 

Workers will pick up and bag trash along sidewalks and gutters; remove posters from light poles; and clean the city's "Big Belly" trash containers twice per week. 

Clean Corners is an economic development initiative created in response to the immense challenges involved with assisting people who are homeless achieve self-sufficiency. In addition to job training, Clean Corners employees have access to support services that help them maintain a professional work schedule. They receive intense training and are a highly visible, positive presence in the neighborhoods they serve. They are paid hourly, and graduate from Clean Corners with skills that transfer directly to a variety of industries, including custodial services, facilities maintenance, waste management, and landscaping.

"Clean Corners is a great option for urban communities that want to keep their neighborhoods and business districts clean," said Suzanne Kenney, Executive Director of Project Place. "But much more impressive is Clean Corners' record of helping clients become self-sufficient by teaching them skills through on-the-job training that they can use to obtain mainstream employment."

WGMS Executive Director, Jennifer Effron added, "Washington Gateway is using funds raised from a successful NeckTies [annual fundraiser] to engage a valuable local nonprofit that provides employment training to formerly homeless or incarcerated individuals. That partnership further benefits the local businesses and entire community with cleaner sidewalks to stroll along. Working with Project Place and the City of Boston allows our small organization to have a big impact. We can all feel good about this project." 

This endeavor is a fuller effort that started in the winter of 2015 when record snowfall blocked entrances to businesses. WGMS hired Project Place to shovel business entryways and further clear crosswalks. Chinatown Main Streets has also worked with Project Place in a similar capacity over the past several years.

Clean Corners...Bright Hopes crews pick up over 280 pounds of trash each week. The current partnership is slated for at least 6 months and WGMS is hoping to extend it for years to come. 

Read about this partnership in a recent edition of The Boston Guardian, featured on pages 7 and 8.