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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Secures Millions for Queens Community Projects

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has secured $15 million in federal funds for local projects, including $1 million for safety upgrades to Astoria Boulevard (Photo: U.S. Congress and GMaps)

Jan. 10, 2023 By Christian Murray

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Tuesday that she has secured $15 million in federal funds that will be going toward several Queens and Bronx community-based organizations.

The lawmaker said that the funds will support 15 projects that are offered by non-profits or provided by city agencies — nine of which are in Queens.

The funding secured by Ocasio-Cortez will go toward pedestrian safety improvements in Astoria, an array of mental health and housing programs, as well as immigrant services.

The organizations that are being funded are based in the 14th Congressional District, which covers northwest Queens and a section of the Bronx.

“The funding secured for the 15 community projects will directly impact our communities in The Bronx and Queens—through investments in pre-K programming, community violence interventions, workforce training in green jobs and more,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.  “We’re looking forward to following the success of these community projects as they come to life.”

One of the nine Queens projects includes a $1 million allocation to the NYC Department of Transportation to make Astoria Boulevard safer for pedestrians. The funds will be used to expand the sidewalks, reduce street crossing distances, add crosswalks and make bus stop improvements. The project will also involve curb extensions, as well as the creation of left turn bays.

Nearly $700,000 will be going to Elmcor Youth and Adult Services, located at 104-10 Northern Blvd., to provide permanent housing for the homeless as well as senior citizens.

Ocasio-Cortez has also secured $3 million that will go toward the expansion of health care services provided by Plaza Del Sol, a Corona-based organization. The funds, which will increase access to health care services for residents of Corona and Elmhurst, will be used to serve 7,000 additional patients and go toward hiring seven new healthcare providers.

The congresswoman has also brought in $2.4 million in federal money to help Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens, a Woodside-based organization, find permanent office space. The organization, currently based at 60-20 Woodside Ave., provides housing and foreclosure counseling services to more than 3,000 individuals and families per year.

The New York Hall of Science will be receiving $750,000 to develop a pre-K program for preschoolers that promotes STEM learning.

Other organizations to receive funding include The Variety Boys and Girls of Queens. The Astoria-based organization has been allocated $500,000 toward the implementation of a mental health program at its Teen Academy. The funds will go toward hiring social workers and other mental health counselors.

Immigrant-focused groups such as Make the Road NY, which is based in Jackson Heights, will be receiving $400,000 for its adult literacy programs. Meanwhile, the New Immigrant Community Empowerment organization, which is also located in Jackson Heights, has been awarded $500,000 that will go toward job training for new immigrants.

One other Queens organization to receive funding is Flushing-based AABR, which provides mental health care services for adults with intellectual and development disabilities. It has been allocated nearly $400,000 to create three behavioral health positions to provide services to 400-plus individuals.

The congresswoman also secured funds for organizations in Bronx, including $1 million for the New York Botanical Gardens, $1 million toward safety improvements at Westchester Square Plaza, $845,000 toward the expansion of mental health services at NYC Health and Hospitals Jacobi and $200,000 toward Birch Families Services to help students with special needs.

Ocasio-Cortez has also secured $3 million in funding for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide wage subsidies to non-profits in the renewable energy sector to incentivize hiring.

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