On July 21, 2022, Central City Concern and Downtown Portland Clean & Safe honored two Clean Start trainees at the 13th annual Clean & Safe appreciation day! We’re thrilled to celebrate our two Cleaners of the Year who are on the ground every day doing the important work of cleaning up our streets.
Clean Start program is a six-month, mentored employment program. Clean Start is one of CCC’s social enterprise programs and is helping to solve two of Portland’s most pressing issues: cleaning up our streets and helping people escape homelessness.
Over the span of six months, Clean Start trainees receive peer mentoring while learning job skills and building confidence for future employment opportunities. They’re also connected to CCC’s wraparound services, including supportive housing, integrated health care, substance use disorder treatment, employment assistance and more.
In 2021, CCC participated in a national study of social enterprise programs, comparing programs similar to Clean Start. Not only did the study show that participating in these programs made a marked difference in people’s lives after completion, but CCC had the most pronounced results in employment and housing. Seventy-four percent of folks who participated in these type of social enterprise programs were stably housed 18 months after starting the programs.
In addition to changing lives, Clean Start is making a difference in Portland. In 2021, our cleaners removed 4.3 million pounds of trash from throughout the Portland Metro region.
Congratulations to the 2022 Cleaners of the Year!
While one Cleaner of the Year has opted to remain anonymous, here’s a little bit about our other honoree, Jeremy.
Originally from New Orleans, Jeremy has been in Portland since 2016. Jeremy was unhoused for five years. Feeling lonely and depressed, he checked himself into CCC’s Hooper Detoxification Stabilization Center for substance use disorder treatment on Christmas Eve in 2021. He has been in recovery ever since.
Jeremy has experienced many services from Central City Concern including the substance abuse outpatient treatment programs at both the Richard L. Harris Bullding and Blackburn Center. He is also a graduate of CCC’s Community Volunteer Corps which led to a job with Clean Start.
Jeremy now has permanent housing at the Blackburn Center and trains Clean Start trainees on the Clean & Safe Business Mall route. ‘I get a good feeling at the end of the day that everything has been cleaned up,” says Jeremy.
Jeremy was chosen as one of 2022’s Cleaners of the Year because of his demonstrated perseverance in overcoming a lot of personal obstacles. It shows in his work. He shows up every day with a great attitude and is an asset to the team.
Every year, Central City Concern helps more than 13,000 people exit homelessness and achieve self-sufficiency. With your support, we can bring hope and healing to even more Portlanders in need.