Cleaner Columbus Employment Initiative an Overwhelming Success
Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy Led Litter Mitigation Job Program
[COLUMBUS, OH] Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy is passionate about neighborhoods and the people who define them. In an effort to support residents and communities hardest hit by the pandemic, Council launched the Cleaner Columbus Employment Program. The goal of the project was twofold, to provide temporary employment to residents and clean up the neighborhoods they love.
The three-week initiative was a resounding success. Using $250,000 in CARES funding, the Cleaner Columbus Employment Program produced:
- Collected 53 percent of the total weight of litter collected in all of 2019
- Collected 5,789 bags of litter and debris
- Collected a total weight of 173,670 pounds of trash
“We know that now, more than ever, our streets feel the full effect of littering and illegal dumping,” said Councilmember Remy. “We wanted to use this opportunity to support our residents by providing additional income during these times and promote cleaner, healthier neighborhoods.”
For three weeks, workers were paid a minimum of $15 per hour and deployed in the Linden, Franklinton and Hilltop neighborhoods, with additional targeted areas in South and East Columbus.
City Council partnered with Franklinton Board of Trade, Hilltop Shalom Zone, Community of Caring Development Foundation, Community Development for all People, and Africentric Personal Development Shop with the goal of accomplishing two tasks:
- Create temporary employment to local residents experiencing financial hardships
- Reduce the amount of litter and debris in opportunity neighborhoods
“This is a real blessing for folks,” said Rev. John Edgar, Executive Director of Community Development for All People. “Having it in November shortly before Thanksgiving creates the opportunity for some individuals to have extra money for Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas gifts for children."
According to a July study on the impact of COVID-19 in major US cities, more than half of residents reported experiencing serious financial hardships. As residents continue to shelter in place, Columbus continues to experience an increase in residential refuse. This increase has had a direct impact on litter and debris throughout our neighborhoods, especially in opportunity areas.
“We collected a total of 329,280 pounds of trash during the 2019 litter cleanups. This program achieved more than half of those totals in just three weeks,” Remy continued. “This was an incredible opportunity to invest in our community and our residents. I’m so proud of what we accomplished.”