APRIL 6, 2021
"In 1975, my family of four could not afford a two-bedroom apartment on our income, so we were so excited when we received a letter stating that we were eligible to live in the Forest Hills Coop.

We were well aware of the controversy associated with the housing complex, as stories about the conflict were in the papers every day. And while we were apprehensive about moving, our need for housing was far greater than any concerns we had. On move-in day, we were met by protestors shouting 'WE DO NOT WANT YOU!' Some threw eggs and tomatoes at us. It was a scary experience, but as soon as we stepped into our apartment, we were just relieved to have a decent place to stay."

I remember Forest Hills Community House (now Queens Community House) explaining to us their plan to integrate the new tenants into the existing community. When the new Community Center first opened its doors, the neighborhood quickly took notice. It didn’t take long to see seniors from the coop and the broader neighborhood eating together, as well as teenagers from both “sides” playing basketball on the same court.

The Forest Hills Community Center instantly became a fixture of the neighborhood. The center brought everyone together and started to address the pressing needs of the entire community.

Eventually, my children attended the after-school program there, and soon after, I was asked to join the Board of Directors. I agreed without hesitation. I was happy to give back to an organization that had turned the neighborhood into a true community."
Queens Community House Purchases the Forest Hills Community Center
The Board of Directors of Queens Community House (QCH) announced QCH’s purchase of the Forest Hills Community Center, the organization’s initial program site and home to its administrative headquarters.

“The purchase marks an enormous milestone in our organization’s evolution, and it solidifies the continuity of the Forest Hills space as an essential resource for the Forest Hills, Rego Park, and Corona communities,” according to Ben Thomases, Executive Director of QCH.

In addition to its current import, the center also has historical significance. Its development resulted from a heated community conflict in the early 70’s over the construction of a low-income housing project in what was then mostly a white, middle class neighborhood. In 1972, Mario M. Cuomo, then a local attorney, negotiated a compromise agreement that reduced the size of the buildings, gave existing community residents priority to the units, set aside 40% of apartments for older adults, and made the development the first low-income public housing cooperative in the nation (Forest Hills Coop). Two other emergences from the agreement were the Forest Hills Community Center, built to serve as a common meeting space for both new and long-term residents, and the establishment of a new social service organization to operate it: Forest Hills Community House (now known as QCH).

“The purchase of the center now presents us with the opportunity to undertake a major renovation to modernize the building’s infrastructure, add lounges, counseling rooms, and areas for intergenerational activities, and make the entire building more open and accessible,” according to Thomases. Renovation is scheduled to begin in July of this year, with a grand reopening in summer 2022!
Queens Community House Selected for Worldwide Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge

QCH has been selected as one of 12 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and U.K. to take part in this year’s Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge. Teams of Morgan Stanley employees in New York and London will work virtually with leadership teams at 12 nonprofit organizations to provide strategic recommendations to address their mission-critical challenges.

Morgan Stanley is focusing on QCH’s Young Adult Food Sector Employment Initiative (YAFSEI), which trains out-of-school, out-of-work youth for careers in a variety of food-related businesses.

Click here to read coverage on this from QNS!
Stop Asian Hate

All of us at QCH stand in solidarity with the families of those killed in Atlanta and with all our Asian American neighbors who have been physically targeted during the pandemic because of their race.

Yes, we must stop anti-Asian violence, but we must also amplify Asian voices. We must celebrate Asian culture. We must support Asian businesses. We must listen to Asian women.

Recognizing that these manifestations of violence have deep roots, we heartily share the sentiments expressed by our colleagues at AAFE in their February 11, 2021 statement on Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Crimes.  
'Universal Eligibility' for COVID-19 Vaccine in New York

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. As of today, all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine!

"As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind," Governor Cuomo said.

COVID-19 Resources:

Rachel Epstein, Program Director at QCH, on getting the COVID-19 vaccine:

"I got a call out of the blue offering me a vaccine at Mt. Sinai Hospital. It happened to be a Jewish Holiday (Purim). I had been trying to get an appointment for several months with no success. I considered it a Purim miracle! Subsequently I found out that a friend registered me with Mt. Sinai. I felt so grateful to be vaccinated that I actually felt tears of joy. I had covid in December and missed out on the holidays. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just wish it would be easier for people to get the vaccine. It takes perseverance and some luck to find that needle in the haystack."
Queens Community House provides individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities.