Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Secures Funding for Queens Community House to Support Alternative High Schools
NEW YORK (March 2022) – On March 10, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she secured funding for Queens Community House (QCH), one of the borough’s largest social service organizations, to support their alternative high schools. The funding passed the House as part of an omnibus bill to keep the federal government funded and open. QCH was one of 10 community projects nominated by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to serve New York’s 14th Congressional District.
QCH will receive $225,000 to establish Family Support Coordinators in VOYAGES Preparatory High School in Elmhurst and Young Adult Borough Center (YABC) at the High School for Arts & Business in Corona. QCH will also support students at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, which hosts the organization’s Youth Development Center.
“We thank Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for supporting our alternative high schools in Queens,” said Ben Thomases, QCH Executive Director. “With in-school family support coordinators, students and families impacted by the pandemic will access much-needed services to ensure achievement of a diploma.”
QCH is currently partnered with the three Queens high schools to engage students who are at risk of dropping out and to provide the support they need to graduate. Students at these schools are primarily first-generation Americans or recent immigrants from low-income and working poor families. Many are older youth working to contribute to family income while still attending school.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the students’ families have been facing numerous challenges related to health, employment, housing, and food access, creating an unstable home environment that puts further stress on the youth and threatens their ability to successfully complete school.
To address these needs, QCH provides case management for students and their families through a Family Support Coordinator, and refers them to services that can help them face issues such as child and elder care, mental health, education, eviction, and immigration status.
“Students who were already struggling to stay in school and graduate are facing even more obstacles to their academic success,” Thomases says, “so our Family Support Coordinators help families surmount some of these obstacles, working to ensure that each of these young people gets the support and guidance they need for themselves and their families to weather the pandemic and earn their high school diplomas.”
“This funding will allow our schools to become full-service community schools, providing much-needed additional supports to some of the most vulnerable families in Queens,” said Sukiana Sanchez, QCH Multi-Site Director.
“I know these projects will be deeply impactful to our families throughout Queens and The Bronx,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in a statement. “We are thrilled these projects will now become reality -- and we are confident that all these projects fulfill our nation's collective goals, advance our collective pursuit of justice, and are deeply worthy of federal support."
Queens Community House (QCH) is a multi-service settlement house committed to serving the diverse neighborhoods of Queens. QCH serves 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 34 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.
Director of Communications
Queens Community House