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From community centers to DNA testing, Congresswoman Meng secures $13M for Queens initiatives

Mar. 13, 2024 By Iryna Shkurhan

Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng secured over $13 million in federal funds for Queens projects through a recently passed government spending package. 

As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Meng is one of the 61 members that determines which agencies, programs and initiatives across the country receive federal funding. The secured funds are part of the Community Project Funding included in the new government spending package passed by the House and Senate last week, and signed into law by President Biden over the weekend. 

Fifteen organizations, ranging from cultural community centers to government agencies, were selected to receive funding for their specific needs and initiatives. One prominent recipient is the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing. It received $500,000 for two new state of the art greenhouses to be able to provide more programming and a better experience for visitors. 

“Here in Queens, we deserve to receive the federal funding we need, and I am proud to continue delivering critical money for our borough,” said Congresswoman Meng. “I will never stop fighting for Queens and working to bring back resources from Washington that improve services, safety and quality of life for local residents.”

The organization that received the largest portion of funding is the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). More than $1.6 million will go towards the purchase of a multipurpose community center in Woodside

Currently the services that NaFFAA offers, such as leadership training and Filipino arts and culture seminars, are scattered throughout various organizations. The funding will allow them to centralize resources under one roof and offer more educational, cultural and social opportunities. 

Another organization, La Jornada in Rego Park, will also use their half a million dollars in designated funds to acquire a multipurpose community center in Woodside. The nonprofit currently works to empower migrants by providing resources such as a food pantry and English courses. The new center will be used as a senior center, after school care program for kids and a vocational training center. 

Several organizations received funding to update the infrastructure of their community spaces. The Martin Lande House, a senior residence facility in Flushing, received $500,000. The space, run by Selfhelp Community Services, will use the funds to make facade repairs, heating improvements and increase accessibility. 

The Forest Hills American Legion Continental Post #1424 received $300,000 to repair warped floors, exposed wiring, cracked walls and ceilings. The funding will also go towards making the center’s kitchen and bathroom more accessible for people with disabilities. 

Two city agencies – the NYPD and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – also received federal funding. Police officers received over $1.2 million to purchase belt-worn trauma kits that contain essential medical supplies. 

The DEP received $1 million to build a Cloudburst Management System to combat a rise in flooding across Queens. Cloudburst infrastructure, expanded on by the city last year, absorbs, stores and transfers stormwater caused by heavy rain to minimize flooding and damage. Some examples of the infrastructure are rain gardens. 

Another million was designated for the CHAZAQ nonprofit center in Kew Gardens Hills to pay for its Bukharian Jewish youth program, held after school and on Sundays.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office received half a million dollars for DNA testing upgrades to help identify human remains in partnership with the FBI. There are approximately 200 victims, many tied to homicide cases, whose remains are unidentified in Queens. 

In Jackson Heights, $850,000 was designated for New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) to acquire a worker center for job training and certification courses for immigrants. Chhaya, a nonprofit in the neighborhood which serves South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities, also received $1 million towards revitalizing its new community center on 77th Street. 

“I look forward to these important projects moving forward and seeing them serve our communities,” added Meng. 

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