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Queens councilman allocates $60K to Libertas Center for Human Rights at Elmhurst Hospital

Sep. 12, 2023 By Bill Parry

The Libertas Center for Human Rights at Elmhurst Hospital announced on Sept. 11 it was the recipient of $60,000 in funding from Councilman Shekar Krishnan to assist survivors of torture and political persecution.

The funding will support asylum seekers through expedited access to medical assessments, primary care, mental health support and other healthcare services. This funding is part of the Council’s Immigrant Health Initiative, which focuses on improving healthcare for new immigrants by reducing barriers to care.

Courtesy of NYC Health and Hospitals

“I am incredibly proud to partner with my colleagues in the Council to support the Libertas Program, a beacon of hope and healing for asylum seekers who have endured unspeakable hardships. The program’s unique hybrid approach shows how our public hospitals serve as a model of comprehensive care for New Yorkers daily,” Krishnan said. “As the number of asylum seekers continues to rise, the Libertas Program has embraced the challenge of meeting their needs and providing them with the quality care they deserve. I look forward to continuing to work with my Council colleagues to support this invaluable public health initiative in the years to come.”

Councilman Shekar KrishnanCourtesy of NYC Council

The Libertas Center for Human Rights at Elmhurst Hospital Center provides survivors of torture and human rights violations in New York City with extensive medical, mental health, social and legal services, with the goal of helping them regain their ability to function and lead healthy, confident, and hopeful lives.

“I want to thank Council member Krishnan and the New York City Council for recognizing the Libertas Program for Human Rights and the importance of its mission,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Dr. Helen Arteaga-Landaverde. “This critical funding will allow Elmhurst’s Libertas program to continue to serve as a lifeline for vulnerable people from around the world fleeing horrific violence and persecution.”

The center’s funding from the Council will be used to enhance its ability to provide crucial services to clients from over 65 countries. Ninety percent of Libertas clients have endured torture, persecution or violent abuse in their home countries based on either ethnic origin, religious beliefs, political beliefs or gender identity. Since its opening in 2010, the Libertas Center has served nearly 1,000 survivors of torture.

“Thank you to Council member Shekar Krishnan and the New York City Council for their ongoing support of the Libertas Program for Human Rights,” said Libertas Center for Human Rights Clinical Director Walter Fendrich. “The assistance they have provided to the Libertas Center for Human Rights greatly improves the lives of torture survivors who come to us from all over the world. “

For more information on the Libertas program, contact 718-334-6209 or visit

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