Queens Community House awarded $1.4M to renovate Forest Hills Community Center and expand workforce development programs
February 5, 2020
QUEENS, NEW YORK (December 20, 2019) – Queens Community House (QCH) has been awarded $1.4M in economic and community development funding through the New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative. The award was announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on December 18. Funding will support the renovation of QCH's 19,000ft2 Forest Hills Community Center, the largest of the 32 program sites it operates in the borough.
The REDC is a key component of the governor's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations.
“We're thrilled to receive this news," said QCH Executive Director Ben Thomases. "Modernizing our headquarters and original program site will allow us to reclaim usable space for our workforce development programs, ESOL classes, immigration legal services, and child-care programming.”
Under NYCHA control from 1975 through 2017, QCH has recently purchased the building, which now requires substantial upgrading and repairs after years of disinvestment.
“Ongoing maintenance issues consistently interfere with QCH’s day-to-day operations and impede its accessibility for our neighbors. We are planning a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion that will resolve the current issues with the building and transform the space into a cutting edge community center. Thanks to this funding, our Forest Hills Community Center will serve as an anchor for our intergenerational programming and promote community economic development for years to come,” said Thomases.
The center will offer a range of workforce development, social service, and neighborhood- strengthening programming for 5,000 residents annually. In addition, a revamped and modernized administrative headquarters will provide support for additional sites throughout Queens, impacting an additional 20,000 residents each year, and positioning the organization to continue its growth and serve new neighborhoods.
QCH was one of eight Queens organizations to receive REDC funding. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils said in a press release, “Through the REDCs, we are advancing the strategic economic development strategies of each region and supporting growth [...]. With a focus on workforce development and growth of high-tech industries, we are adding new job opportunities and strengthening the economy of New York State."
Queens Community House (QCH) is a multi-service settlement house serving more than 25,000 children, youth, adults and older adults every year. Our mission is to provide individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. Through a broad network of programs operating out of 32 sites in 14 neighborhoods, we offer Queens residents a needed support system at every stage of life, helping them to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to change their lives for the better and become active participants in their larger community.
Jennifer Weil, Director of Communications
Queens Community House
108-25 62nd Drive Queens, NY 11375
Office: (718) 592-5757 x 249