Gothamist: Queens residents demand affordable housing on site of old psych hospital

Gothamist: Queens residents demand affordable housing on site of old psych hospital | June 2023: Hundreds of Queens residents say the state-owned campus of an old psychiatric hospital presents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build 3,000 new affordable homes — if New York officials allow it.

The residents are organizing with a coalition of church and nonprofit groups known as Queens Power to demand affordable housing on the grounds of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, a swath of state-owned land best known for the towering hospital visible from the Grand Central Parkway. They rallied for the proposal near the Creedmoor campus on Sunday.

Queens Power Co-Chair Ben Thomases, who leads the nonprofit Queens Community House, said the state-owned land provides the perfect opportunity to build around 3,000 new income-restricted apartments, along with homes available to purchase, during a deepening housing crisis.

“Where are you gonna find something like that in Queens or anywhere in the five boroughs?” Thomases said. “We need 100% real affordability because this is a housing emergency and in an emergency, we need the state to use every tool at its disposal to respond.”

So far, Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York’s quasi-governmental agency, Empire State Development, have resisted the 100% affordable housing idea, according to Queens Power members. State officials will hold two public forums on the project next month as part of a planning process on what to do with the 55 acres south of the main hospital, which would remain a psychiatric facility.

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