By Rebecca Henely
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said sanitation and ensuring the success of burgeoning immigrant populations were his priorities when he doled out the $550,000 he received in discretionary funding this year.
“I’ve made a concerted effort to make sure the way I distributed funds represents the diversity of the community I represent,” Dromm said.
The councilman’s district includes parts of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst.
Dromm’s $550,000 in discretionary funds from this year’s city budget was a significant boost from the roughly $250,000 he received last year. Dromm broke up this funding between groups serving a multitude of ethnicities, both in the neighborhood and on a statewide level.
The largest single item Dromm allocated from his own funds was $60,000 to the Doe Fund. The fund, which employs homeless and formerly incarcerated young people to clean up city streets, will be cleaning the 37th Road Plaza and surrounding areas seven days a week and other areas throughout the neighborhood five days a week, Dromm said.
“That’s a very serious commitment on my part to stressing the success of the businesses in that area,” Dromm said.
The group that received the most money, split up among multiple grants, was the Queens Community House. The organization, based in Forest Hills but with locations in Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, got a collective $78,000 to fund a multitude of services from youth workshops to graffiti cleanup to housing help.
Dromm also gave Jackson Heights-based immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York $31,000 for efforts to help stop deportations of incorrectly detained immigrants and to fight homophobia and transphobia.
Another of Dromm’s major recipients was the LeFrak City Youth and Adult Activities Association, which got almost $30,000 for academic help and sports activities for young people. Dromm also gave $20,000 to the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee Inc. to fund the Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights, which Dromm helped start.
But Dromm also gave many smaller funds to groups that advocate for a specific minority population. He said he gave grants to groups like Asian Americans for Equality, whose closest location is in Flushing, to assist the growing Asian population in Elmhurst.
The councilman said he is also trying to identify groups that are serving the new populations in his district, like the relatively new Tibetan and Nepalese communities in Jackson Heights.
“They have the cultural competence to do the outreach,” he said of the advocacy organizations.
Dromm said he was fairly proud of the city’s budget overall this year and pointed out that it provided services to immigrants like legal help and English classes, as well as offering services that would make it easier for women to work while raising a family.
“I would call it a progressive budget,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.