Representative AOC Submits Federal Funding Requests For 15 Community Projects Benefitting NY’s 14th Congressional District

QUEENS, NY — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced today that she is requesting federal funding for 15 community projects that would serve New York’s 14th Congressional District. The proposed projects include workforce training in green jobs, a supportive housing development, community violence interventions, pre-K programming, youth mental healthcare services, public transportation safety and accessibility improvements, and funding for literacy services. The Appropriations Committee solicited these requests from all Members as part of their annual spending process. The full list of nominees from NY-14 can be found below.

Under guidelines issued by the Appropriations Committee, each Representative may request funding for up to 15 projects in their community for fiscal year 2023 – although only a handful may actually be funded. Funding is restricted to a limited number of project categories, and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities are permitted to receive funding. Additional information on the guidelines governing Community Project Funding can be found here.

In order to inform our funding requests, our office posted widely about the opportunity and scheduled conversations with eligible groups to discuss possible projects and field questions. We then requested one paragraph proposals from interested groups which we vetted with the appropriate congressional subcommittee to confirm eligibility, and encouraged groups to complete the appropriate forms on our website for further consideration.

We then presented the top 15 projects to the Congresswoman, who relayed her feedback to the projects. After further discussion and input from subcommittee staff, we arrived at the fifteen projects listed below.

If an organization’s project was not selected, there may be an opportunity for funding next year – though Congressional leaders have not yet confirmed that this process will repeat for fiscal year 2024. Some of the considerations for strong proposals include depth of project planning, clear objectives and scope of work, demonstration of community support, and ability to manage federal grants. The fifteen projects that were selected are outlined below.

Road rebuilding, infrastructure, education, arts and culture projects benefitting NY-14 requested by AOC. Image Credit - StockSnap

Road rebuilding, infrastructure, education, arts & culture projects benefitting NY-14 requested by AOC. Image Credit – StockSnap

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Community Project Funding Requests for Fiscal Year 2023:

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) – Clean Energy On-the-Job Training
$5,000,000
17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) requests $5,000,000 to provide wage subsidies to non-profits in the renewable energy sector to incentivize hiring and prioritize a just transition. To date, NYSERDA, in partnership with the NYS Department of Labor, has supported over 900 new hires. NYSERDA is proposing an enhanced offering for non-profit organizations that hire 16-24 year-olds and transitioning fossil fuel workers for clean energy positions including system design and installation, operation and maintenance related to energy efficiency and building electrification, renewable energy, energy storage, sustainable transportation, and other eligible technologies.

NYC Health and Hospitals Jacobi Stand Up to Violence – Mental Health Services Expansion
$845,026
1400 Pelham Pkwy S, The Bronx, NY 10461
The Stand up to Violence (SUV) program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi requests $845,026 to expand social and mental health services to victims of violent crime. In 2021 the SUV program saw more patients due to violent trauma than any other year, and they have responded to 181% more gun-shot wound victims over the past two summers when compared to years prior. Left unaddressed, violence and mental health issues can lead to a cycle of emergency room utilization, police encounters, and jail time. Funding will go towards hiring 2 social workers, 2 caseworkers, 2 creative therapists, and 1 full-time psychiatrist, all who are experienced in treating trauma/violence.

Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities – Supportive Housing Project
$663,250
104-10 Northern Boulevard in Queens, NY 11368
Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc. requests $663,250 towards their supportive housing development for individuals in recovery and senior citizens. Specifically, Elmcor will provide permanent housing and supportive services for 21 chronically homeless single adults with a serious mental illness (SMI), a substance use disorder (SUD) (including those who are actively using or have started their recovery process within the last 12 months), or those who may have a co-occurring SMI and SUD (Population 1). The other 9 units will be affordable independent residences for seniors with project-based Section 8 vouchers provided by HPD through the NCP program.

Plaza Del Sol (PDS) – Family Health Center Expansion Project
$4,500,000
37-12 108th Street, Corona NY, 11368
Plaza Del Sol is requesting $4,500,000 to expand their Family Health Center to serve an additional 7000 patients and hire 6.5 additional health care providers. The epicenter of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and home to a largely underinsured and undocumented immigrant community, residents of Corona experience poorer health outcomes than most parts of the city. The PDS Expansion Project will increase access to health care for residents of Corona and Elmhurst, providing comprehensive primary and specialty care augmented by complementary services such as health care enrollment, health education, and behavioral health services. The project will add mammography services and dentistry to its list of services.

New York Hall of Science – Pre-K Program
$300,000
47-01 111 Street Queens, NY 11368
The New York Hall of Science requests $300,000 to develop a pre-K program for preschoolers and identify new pedagogical practices that promote STEM learning from a young age. The pre-school will provide new seats in a crowded district and give families of Corona and Flushing top notch and innovative educational opportunities in their own backyard.

New York City Department of Transportation – Astoria Boulevard Safety Improvements
$1,000,000
55 Water Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10041
The New York City Department of Transportation requests $1,000,000 to make Astoria Boulevard safer and more accessible for pedestrians by expanding sidewalk space, shortening crossing distances, adding crossings, and adding bus stop improvements, including bus bulbs. Specifically, this project will enhance pedestrian safety and improve pedestrian circulation by constructing curb extensions and median tip extensions along, as well as create left turn bays and crosswalks.

New York Botanical Gardens – Workers Operation Center
$1,000,000
2900 Southern Boulevard, New York, NY 10458
New York Botanical Gardens requests $1,000,000 for the restoration of the Workers Operation Center, serving the daily work needs of the Garden’s core workforce – the building service employees, engineers, carpenters, and administrative staff and will help to maintain an accessible, and safe urban sanctuary for the over 1 million guests and their families that visit. The existing site covers approximately three acres and has 3 buildings where staff are currently assigned. The current structures are very old and not optimal for the broad range of work needed to run a vibrant and accessible cultural institution. A new, highly efficient net zero building would provide a large general work area, smaller work areas for specific trades, a multi-purpose room to be used as a meeting room, lunch room with kitchenette, a workforce training room, locker rooms / bathrooms with showers, offices, a conference room, copy room, and vehicle storage / vehicle repair shop.

New York City Department of Transportation – Westchester Square Plaza
$1,000,000
55 Water Street, 9th Floor New York, NY 10041
The New York City Department of Transportation requested $1,000,000 towards safety improvements in an area that is in the top 10% of dangerous crashes (severe injuries and fatalities) in the Bronx. The irregular street geometry at the intersection of Westchester Ave and East Tremont Ave significantly contributes to this area seeing a high number of pedestrian and motor-vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. This project seeks to ameliorate these issues by removing a right turn slip lane and building out Westchester Square Plaza. This solution will create approximately 4,000 SF of quality public space in the area, providing public amenities and landscaping.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens (NHSQ) – Capacity Building
$2,400,000
60-20 Woodside Ave, Woodside, NY 11377
Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens (NHSQ) requests $2,400,000 towards acquiring a permanent home for their organization. NHSQ provides housing and foreclosure counseling services to low-income communities of color, who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Queens currently faces the highest number of foreclosures in New York. By acquiring a permanent space NHSQ will be able to continue providing housing services to more than 3,000 individuals and families annually—providing first time homebuyers’ assistance, home repair services, foreclosure prevention and financial education services.

New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) – Creating Pathways to Safety and Success for Immigrants in the COVID-19 Landscape
$500,000
71-21 Roosevelt Avenue Jackson Heights, NY 11372
New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) requests $500,000 to grow its workforce development program that trains recently-arrived immigrants for safe, living-wage, career-track jobs within the construction industry. This support will enable NICE to serve 1,000 additional immigrant workers over a one-year period. The program will train workers for the construction industry, with particular focus on immigrant women wanting to transition from domestic to construction work, and newly arrived immigrants. This work will be paired with connecting community members to health care resources like the Excluded Workers Fund and NYC Care as well as helping them navigate the process for COVID-19 vaccination.

Birch Family Services – Fostering Communication Across School and Community for Students with Special Needs and Their Families
$201,096
2885 St Theresa Ave, Bronx, NY 10461
Birch Family Services requests $201,096 to train their education staff in PECS (“Picture Exchange Communication System”), a communication system designed for nonverbal children and adults. Birch Family Services provides education services to preschool and school-age children at its Pelham Bay Early Childhood Center in the Bronx , as well as other schools across the New York metropolitan area. Support for this program would lead to improved outcomes for young people across Birch’s education services, helping young learners achieve their IEP goals.

AABR – Back to Baseline: Trauma and Mental Health Care for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities post COVID
$382,174
15-08 College Point Ave, College Point, NY 11356
AABR requests $382,174 to create three behavioral health positions to provide services to the 400+ individuals in their congregate care and Day Habilitation settings. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often overlooked and grossly underserved when it comes to receiving mental health services, particularly the treatment of trauma. The Behavioral Health Providers and staff will receive specialized training from experts at the Northwell Health Support Trauma Recovery for Youth with Developmental Disabilities (STRYDD) Center, in the identification and treatment of trauma for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.

Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens – Teen Academy & Mental Health Programming
$500,000
21-12 30TH Road, Astoria, NY, 11102
Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens requests $500,000 towards the implementation of a Mental Health program at their Teen Academy, which offers free college and career readiness training to underserved high school students living in Queens. Recognizing the mental health impacts of the pandemic on youth, between the loss of loved ones and extended periods of remote learning, this funding will allow Variety Boys and Girls Club to hire social workers and other mental health counselors/professionals to support young people in achieving their goals.

Make the Road NY – Adult Literacy Services for Immigrant New Yorkers
$400,000
92-10 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
Make the Road New York requests $400,000 to sustain and enhance its Adult Literacy program for low-income immigrant New Yorkers. Through adult literacy instruction, students will access better career opportunities and advance their language, literacy, and digital literacy skills to enable them to participate more fully in civic life. Funding will also enable MRNY to purchase technology to integrate digital literacy skill building into class instruction in FY23 and beyond, in order to address the widening technology gap that left low-income communities even further behind during the nationwide pivot to virtual platforms during the pandemic. Additionally, MRNY will assess program participants’ urgent needs and connect them with survival services and other key resources.

Start Lighthouse Literacy Hub
$205,500
1970 West Farms Road, Bronx, NY 10460
Start Lighthouse requests $205,5000 to create a literacy hub in a Title I school by reviving defunct, deprecated, and unused library spaces. Funds will go towards purchase of books, furniture and decor, authors’ residency honorariums, supplies and other program expenses to promote a love of reading and help students achieve reading proficiency by grade 3.

Banner Image: Solar Energy Powered Building. Image Credit – PublicDomainPictures

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In January of 2019, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez was sworn-in as the youngest woman and youngest Latina ever to serve in Congress. Her first piece of legislation was the Green New Deal resolution, which envisions a 10-year national mobilization, akin to FDR’s New Deal, that would put millions to work in good-paying, union jobs repairing the nation’s infrastructure, reducing air and water pollution, and fighting the intertwined economic, social, racial and climate crises crippling the country.

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