You are reading

Woodside on the Move Faces Big Cuts as City Looks to Slash Budget

WOTM Executive Director Michael Vaz and Board Members (Facebook)

May 5, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Woodside on the Move, a non-profit organization that has served western Queens for decades, faces significant budget cuts that threaten much of its programming.

Each year the group provides thousands of residents with essential services in areas like housing and immigration, and also offers after-school programming for hundreds of kids.

WOTM expects a large portion of its $696,000 annual discretionary budget to be slashed as City Council Members deal with a drastically reduced budget starting July, according to WOTM Executive Director Michael Vaz.

The likely cuts follow the mayor’s announcement last month that he is shaving $2.7 billion from the city’s budget for the fiscal year 2021 – that goes from July 1 through June 30, 2021 – given the lost tax revenue with the COVID-19 shutdown.

Among the programs that may be affected by the cuts is the group’s housing program which goes to helping tenants with affordable housing, landlord/tenant mediation, and other housing-related issues.

Last year the program served 4,187 families – a 5 percent jump in the number of people who used the service in 2018, Vaz said.

However, around two-thirds of the program’s $280,000 budget is now on the line. The group also provides immigration advice and information on immigration matters under its housing program.

WOTM provides after school programming for children in kindergarten up to sixth grade at four different schools: PS11, PS152, PS151, PS361. Vaz believes that spaces at two of these schools – PS11 and PS152 – could be terminated. He estimates a total of 150 slots could be lost.

One of the group’s staple youth programs has already suffered a big blow.

WOTM’s popular children’s summer camp, which runs for about six weeks between July and August every year and caters to around 700 families, has already been canceled.

The Department of Youth and Community Development which funds the camps told WOTM that the camps will not go ahead this summer due to health and safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus, according to Vaz.

However, Vaz believes that budget cuts may have been a factor in the decision to cancel the camps. The camps cost between $300,000 – $400,000 to run each year, he said.

The camps employ about 80 part-time workers who will now be out of a job, Vaz said.

Vaz said that the cancellation of the camps will place a tremendous burden on families.

“This will have a domino effect on the community because now our kids are not engaged in anything this summer and it puts an additional hardship on parents and families,” he said.

He is appealing for city council members to stop further cuts to its programming as it would have a devastating impact on the community and people who rely on these services.

“We understand that certain sacrifices have to be made but we do not want these sacrifices to come at the expense of our youth and families,” he said.

Woodside on the Move Summer 2019

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Armed robber hits 7-Eleven stores in three Queens neighborhoods in just over an hour Wednesday morning: NYPD

Police from two Queens NYPD precincts are looking for an armed robber who targeted 7-Eleven stores in three different neighborhoods in just over an hour during the early morning of Wednesday, Apr. 17.

Police from the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park reported that the first heist went down just before 2:25 a.m. at the 7-Eleven located at 112-11 Liberty Ave. in South Richmond Hill. The perpetrator allegedly pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the 23-year-old man behind the counter, who complied, handing over $400 in cash from the register, police said.

Jamaica Estates man beaten, robbed by bat-wielding thugs near Cunningham Park: NYPD

A 22-year-old Jamaica Estates man was beaten and robbed in broad daylight three blocks west of Cunningham Park on Saturday, and police from the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows are looking for the suspects who attacked him with a baseball bat.

The incident occurred just after 7 p.m., as the victim was walking home in the vicinity of 189th Street and Aberdeen Avenue when he was set upon by the two assailants who struck him in the face and head with the baseball bat, police said. They forcibly removed his cell phone and fled in a black Pontiac Grand Am, heading northbound on 109th Street toward Union Turnpike.

Dozens of restaurant and small business owners urge Sen. Ramos to support the $8B Metropolitan Park proposal at Citi Field

Around fifty restaurant and small business owners from Corona, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst signed a letter asking state Senator Jessica Ramos to support the $8 billion Metropolitan Park proposal from New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International to build a casino and entertainment complex on the parking lot adjacent to Citi Field.

Jessica Rico, the owner of Mojitos Restaurant & Bar in Jackson Heights, hand-delivered the letter to a Ramos staffer while the Senator was in Albany on April 19.

Spring refresh: 10 unique home stores to check out in Western Queens

Apr. 18, 2024 By Amanda Salazar

Spring isn’t just a time for cleaning — it’s also a time of fresh starts and renewal. If you’ve been considering redesigning your home, now is the perfect time to renew your space. Whether it’s as big as a complete overhaul of your home’s interior design or as small as getting a new lamp, there’s a small business in western Queens that can help you breathe new life into your space. Here are 10 local home décor and furniture stores to check out this spring.