Cleaning Crew startup
March 21, 2013 5:51 PM   Subscribe

The homeless outreach program I work for wants to start a cleaning crew similar to Men in Blue run by The Doe Fund in New York and Philadelphia. I know so precious little about cleaning, let alone managing an entire cleaning crew. Any idea what equipment I'll need for a team of three to clean outside in the street? I imagine there'll be trash removal, mowing, and I'd like to include the actual cleaning of the pavement.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Poop scoopers, although probably a shovel and rake or broom would be cheaper and more versatile.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:42 PM on March 21, 2013

Why not contact an exsisting program for advice? I worked with a small animal rescue that was mentored by an exsisting rescue fifty miles away. They reccommended products, procedures & paperwork that made our efforts easier. They had "been there & done that" and were delighted to help a new group get started.
posted by misspat at 7:24 PM on March 21, 2013

I have contacted the doe fund but only received information on recreating their program and not any advice on equipment. I did some research on my own but ran out of answers - at that point I turn to AskMe.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 7:42 PM on March 21, 2013

In San Diego, they typically have a janitorial cart with a trash can and other supplies. They typically have a broom and a thing you sweep stuff into -- like a long handled dust pan. When they clean the pavement, they sweep first then hose it down and scrub with soap and one of those flat broom things, like a huge scrub brush on a long handle. Make sure you have things like trash bags, disposable gloves and some kind of cleaning liquid, like soap or whatever.

If the mowing is limited to tiny little scraps of grass at the base of a tree surrounded by pavement, consider getting a weedeater or push mower instead of gas powered mower.
posted by Michele in California at 8:56 PM on March 21, 2013

Brightly-colored vests with the name of the organization on them for the workers to wear, both for their own safety and as publicity for your program.

Something for gum removal? Lots of chemical-based suggestions in this Yahoo Answers thread. I think some kind of long-handled scraper would be useful too.

Power-washers are very useful and fast for cleaning various gunkified surfaces.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:28 AM on March 22, 2013

Have you looked into getting funding/support from a Venture Philanthropy? REDF funds organizations like what you're looking to do.
posted by radioamy at 2:31 PM on March 22, 2013

All of these answers are great. Most of my experience with this has been rooted in solidarity and spirituality, so having to manage other people in a microenterprise is entirely new to me. Cannot thank you enough.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 6:33 PM on March 22, 2013

If I were going to do this, I would look for some kind of environmentally friendly cleaning products. So when you hose down the sidewalk, it wouldn't kill any grass or hurt any puppies.
posted by CathyG at 2:12 PM on March 23, 2013

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