By Phil Corso
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) shouted when she got her first look at The Floating Hospital’s new community health center in Long Island City.
“Whew! It looks great,” Maloney said as she took a guided tour of the new facility. “Now residents here are going to get the kind of personal care they deserve.”
Maloney joined other Queens lawmakers and Queensbridge Houses residents Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a $920,833 federal grant check — the first installment made possible through the landmark Affordable Care Act. The clinic was the only federally qualified community health center to sit on New York City Housing Authority property, Maloney said.
“This is a very special day — not just because Queensbridge residents will have access to first-rate health care by The Floating Hospital right in their own backyard, but because this health clinic is the first of its kind at a NYCHA development,” Maloney said. “This is the largest grant of its kind being given in Region 2, which includes all of New York state — and it’s entirely fitting that it’s funding a clinic at Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the nation.”
According to Maloney, the life-size check represented the first installment of $920,833, representing 17 months of funding. The clinic, she said, will also benefit from annual federal grants of $650,000 through 2016 and potentially more down the road.
Joining Maloney in the ribbon-cutting and presentation of the check were state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
“These federal funds, together with the $200,000 capital grant which I secured for the clinic through the Assembly’s Community Capital Assistance Program, will support very necessary renovations,” Nolan said. “These capital improvements will go a long way to improving the quality of life for all residents in Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria Houses.”
Sean Granahan, president of The Floating House, said the grant was made possible with boroughwide teamwork so thousands of patients could receive quality service at the facility.
“The Floating Hospital has long been fortunate to have a women’s rights champion like Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as a friend,” Granahan said. “Today, with her help, as well as the dogged efforts of Jimmy Van Bramer and Cathy Nolan, The Floating House opens another chapter in its efforts to reach New York City’s undeserved and most vulnerable populations.”
The Floating Hospital, at 10-29 41st Ave., provides primary health, dental and mental health care to more than 20,000 individuals annually, according to the hospital. Maloney said the new facility, funded in part by grants secured by the elected officials in attendance, will allow the hospital to remain sustainable for years to come.
“They are no longer floating,” Maloney said at the Friday morning press conference. “They are grounded.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.