Building a Queens that works for all
Healthcare & Covid-19 Response
Covid-19 has made it all too clear that Queens’ Healthcare system is in crisis. While Manhattan has 5 hospital beds for every thousand residents, Queens only has 1.8 – the lowest per capita of any borough in New York City. This is the results of many hospitals across the borough recently closing. In addition to the lack of hospital beds in Queens, there are many areas that lack urgent care centers and sufficient primary care facilities. Queens Power is committed to making Queens a healthier borough.
In the early days of the Covid-19 crisis Queens Power and Metro Industrial Areas Foundation organized a statewide letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, with over 400 institutions signed on, offering to do whatever we could to help New York through the crisis. This led to the first walk-through testing site in Jamaica, Queens (run by Community Healthcare Network and hosted by First Presbyterian Church Jamaica). We then partnered with Governor Cuomo and Northwell Health on an initiative that ultimately provided antibody testing to 45,000 people at 60 houses of worship across New York.
As with many other parts of New York City, housing is the most important issue for Queens residents. With rents skyrocketing across the borough many working people, who have lived in Queens for generations, are now being forced out. In addition, Queens has a long history as a borough where middle-class people from all over the world can afford to buy a home and live a decent life. For far too many families this is no longer possible. Queens Power will work to change that.
Queens Power’s sister organization, East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), has a long history of developing quality affordable housing. EBC has developed 4,000 Nehemiah homes – affordable homes for first-time buyers. This program has developed over $1 billion wealth primarily for families of color. Queens Power will work with East Brooklyn Congregations to build on this important legacy.
Transportation is a critical issue in Queens, maybe more than any other borough in New York City. Queens does not have the subway access of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. As a result, Queens residents rely heavily on their bus system and the Long Island Railroad. Queens Power will work to expand and improve bus service throughout Queens.
Queens Power met with Ricky Cyrus, Chief of Enforcement with the Department of Sanitation. This action was led by Queens Community House’s Action Group, after over six months of leaders submitting dozens of photos of areas where trash was accumulating in Corona, Elmhurst, Rego Park and South Ozone Park. We presented 7 sites to Chief Cyrus and he committed to make improvements at 6 out of the seven – including bi-weekly cleaning and enforcement against illegal dumping. At the end of the meeting Ricky Cyrus said, “It’s great to partner with groups like yours that want to make Queens a better place.”
Mental Health/ Safety at the Intersection of Criminal Justice
Queens Power will strive to make Queens a borough in which residents are safe and treated justly by law enforcement. We know from experience that it’s possible to achieve both of these objectives, simultaneously. To this end, Queens Power has worked to establish productive working relationships with key leaders in the NYPD. We have explored the effectiveness of Crisis Intervention Training and Diversion centers in Miami and other jurisdictions. We hope to bring similar successful initiatives to Queens.