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Smith Street’s Doe-zaster! • Brooklyn Paper

Smith Street’s Doe-zaster!

Garbage is overflowing on Smith Street now that Doe Fund workers are gone.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

If Smith Street has suddenly started to look like Filth Avenue, there’s a good reason: a nonprofit street-cleaning crew has moved onto dirtier pastures because merchants did not want to pay for their services.

A two-person crew from the Doe Fund had been sweeping up seven days a week between Sackett Street and Atlantic Avenue — but those pro bono perks ended around March 1 after a one-year grant from the city ran out.

The Doe Fund threw in a few more months free, but local merchants declined to continue the service, which is popular in other neighborhoods.

“There’s no political or community will to get organized,” said Joanna West of the Doe Fund, a well-respected group that hires and trains formerly homeless men and women, ex-cons and substance abusers.

The result is a dirty shame on Smith Street. A Brooklyn Paper photographer roamed the once-clean strip and found no shortage of mess to document.

No wonder some shopkeepers miss the blue-uniformed squads.

“It was good for business,” said Majed Alhujaji of Aden News at Baltic Street. “They organized the garbage.”

Anthony Stradford and other “Ready, Willing & Able” graduates at last Wednesday’s ceremony. Unfortunately for them, merchants on Smith Street aren’t hiring.
Doe Fund

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