Stephen Ellison

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo Joins Volunteer Cleanup Program on City Streets

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo braved the elements and rolled up his sleeves Tuesday morning for a worthy cause while also helping make city streets look a little better.

Liccardo joined volunteers with Downtown Streets Team in cleaning up trash and litter along city gateways.

"Cleanup is important both for the aesthethics as well as for ensuring we've got a safe community," said Liccardo, who met up with the cleaning crew near Interstate 280 and the Almaden onramp. "I'm just grateful Downtown Streets Team has been an incredible partner in this effort providing a pathway for an awful lot of folks who are struggling, to get them back on their feet while we're beautifying our city."

The Downtown Streets Team program helps currently or formerly homeless men and women rebuild their lives by assisting them in finding permanent employment, housing and other resources, Program Director Maureen Damrel said.

"Team members are amazing men and women who are basically our neighbors here in San Jose," she told NBC Bay Area. "They're out here doing this because they want to put back into the community and better their lives."

Volunteer Robert Coulter, who used to be homeless, said it feels nice to give back. He says he sees a lot of homeless people who need help but are reluctant to take it when it's offered.

"They'll help you out; you can go to them anytime, and they'll help you out," Coulter said of the Downtown Streets Team program. "But you've gotta speak up for yourself. If you don't speak up for yourself, they won't help."

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