Senator Chuck Schumer Attends Queens Power Rally of 1,200 Residents to Address Affordable Housing and Transit Issues
NEW YORK (March 2022) – On March 27, over 1,200 Queens residents, elected officials, Queens Power leaders and supporters gathered at Rufus King Park in Jamaica for the Queens Power Rally to address the borough’s need for affordable housing, the mental health crisis, and transportation issues. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber were among the speakers in attendance on Sunday who voiced their support for Queens Power and commitment to addressing the pressing needs of Queens.
Queens Power is comprised of faith communities, nonprofit organizations, schools, and unions dedicated to organizing Queens residents to build the leverage needed to address a variety of borough issues – including affordable housing, the lack of transportation options, poorly performing public schools, and “quality of life” issues, such as dirty train stations and unsafe intersections.
Queens Community House (QCH), one of the borough’s largest social service organizations, is a member institution of Queens Power. Among the 150 QCH staff, program participants, and neighbors at the rally, QCH Senior Housing Specialist Joel Ponder spoke out about the lack of affordable housing in Queens. “Every week, I assist families and seniors who are struggling to put food on their tables, pay their medical bills, and pay the rent,” said Ponder. “In my neighborhood, there was a brand-new building being advertised as ‘affordable’, but the rent for those apartments is $2,000. We need apartments that are affordable for all of our Queens families and seniors.”
Senator Schumer voiced his support for Queens Power's push to build affordable homeownership opportunities and rental units at Creedmoor, rehabilitate NYCHA apartments and build housing for older adults on NYCHA properties, and improve public transit in Queens. “As we plan [better] transit in Queens, we need Queens Power to be at the table to help discuss what happens and not have it dictated to them, and I’m going to make sure that happens,” said Senator Schumer.
“Thanks to Senator Schumer’s leadership in delivering $15 billion in federal relief funds for the MTA, we now have an opportunity to build a public transit system that works for all Queens residents,” said QCH Executive Director and Queens Power Co-Chair Ben Thomases. “Our top priorities are elevators at train stops that need them, more shelters at the nearly 5,000 bus stops in Queens, and making sure that Queens riders and drivers have a real say in the upcoming bus re-design.”
Lieber agreed to meet with Queens Power leaders within 30 days of the rally to discuss the Queens bus re-design. “There is no place that has more equity issues about transit than Queens, let’s just be honest about it,” Lieber continued. “The dependence on buses means that we must get this re-design right.”
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