Following complaints about the homeless population and cleanliness in Verdi Park, the city has taken action to clean up and clear out the West 72nd Street and Broadway space. The Parks Department has stepped up maintenance and most of the homeless have accepted services courtesy of Goddard Riverside Community Center. Council Member Gale Brewer said “Work Experience Program” employees—people who work for the Parks Department in exchange for public assistance—clean Verdi Park first thing in the morning. The new effort has prevented the build up of trash that leads to a rat infestation.
“The earlier cleaning, the power washing, rat abatement works,” Brewer said. “They have a little staff, but those three things alone make the difference.”
Representatives from the Goddard Riverside Community Center, which assists homeless individuals from the area, sweep through the park at least once a day, targeting people who might need services. The group has already placed 10 people from the park area in permanent or temporary housing.
“We know the community is concerned about it and we don’t want to see a resurgence,” said Joe Hallmark, Goddard’s director of special initiatives. “We can offer them assistance immediately.”
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