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Safer Foundation: keeping State Street clean and beautiful

If there’s one thing that everyone remarks on coming to downtown Chicago, it’s cleanliness. Thousands upon thousands of people walk on State Street every day, but if you take a look around, you’ll have a tough time finding a single piece of litter or graffiti. How is this possible on one of the most densely populated streets in the Chicago Loop? Two words: Safer Foundation.

Safer Foundation, through funding from SSA #1, provides the people making up CLA’s Clean Team, but that’s just a small peek into what they’re up to. In fact, for over 40 years, Safer Foundation’s mission has focused on reducing recidivism by supporting, through a full spectrum of services, the efforts of people with criminal records to become employed, law-abiding members of the community.

“It’s very difficult for people with a background to obtain employment,” said Al Jacoby, Director of Work Crews at Safer Foundation. “We have job readiness training classes and programs, and our transitional jobs are exactly what they sound like: a job that allows participants to go from having no income to, while they are looking for that full time job, at least get a little money in their pocket.”

However, Jacoby continued, it’s not just about a paycheck:

“We teach them various job skills, they acquire job skills they didn’t have before, work ethic, show up to work on time, do a good job, and that type of thing.”

The CLA Clean Team is one of those transitional programs—designed to teach job skills to people with a background while providing stable income during the difficult search for full-time employment. In fact, Safer just awarded CLA their "Most Consistent Employer" award on May 16, 2014.

 “We’re very pleased with the relationship that we have with Chicago Loop Alliance,” said Jacoby. “The people that are working down on State—it’s kind of considered the plum of all the jobs that Safer has as far as transitions because you’re down on State Street, it’s a beautiful environment, hustle and bustle of the city, tourists, businesses, very vibrant.”

The Clean Team’s work resulted in the disposal of more than 20 tons of garbage and 3,000 illegal graffiti tags in 2013 alone. The team is also responsible for shoveling snow during inclement winter weather.

We at Chicago Loop Alliance would like to sincerely thank Al Jacoby and the Clean Team for their partnership and support. The fruits of their hard work and pride can be seen on State Street every day. If you appreciate having a clean, safe State Street like we do, we encourage you to stop and thank the next Clean Team member you see out there.

Looking forward to many more years together, Safer!


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