On July 26, 2023, Central City Concern and Downtown Portland Clean & Safe honored two Clean Start employees at the 14th annual Clean & Safe appreciation day! We’re thrilled to celebrate our two Cleaners of the Year who are on the ground, every day cleaning up and tending to our streets and making authentic connections with members of our community.
Clean Start is a mentored employment program and is helping to solve two of Portland’s most pressing issues: cleaning up our streets and helping people recover from homelessness.
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.
Last year, our cleaners removed 6.3 million pounds of trash from throughout the Portland metro region. And with the upcoming regionwide expansion of Clean Start, we expect this number to grow!
Congratulations to the 2023 cleaners of the year!
While one Cleaner of the Year has opted to remain anonymous, here’s a little bit about our other honoree, Larry.
Larry has been working with Clean Start for two-and-a-half years. His favorite part of the job is the opportunity to be an asset to the community and find ways to make it better. Larry has also found community around recovery in Clean Start as he celebrates four-and-a-half years in recovery. “We do recover,” he says.
Larry is also an entrepreneur pursuing music and fashion. He performs live as Kandy Wrappa and has collaborated with numerous accomplished producers to create rap music that spreads a message of positivity and love. He also runs a clothing line called Gorilla Pit Squad creating t-shirts and activewear.
Larry has been chosen as one of this year’s Cleaners of the Year because he has continued to show up day in and day out, through any kind of weather to make a difference. Larry has been a role model to the trainees, guiding them and encouraging them to do better for themselves and teaching them how to be better employees. Larry has also been at the front line of several tough projects, always willing to step up to do whatever is needed to get the job done.
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.