Early each morning, a fleet of 10 large black vans sets out from Queens to bring affordable healthcare to the hard-on-their-luck families of New York City homeless shelters.
The fleet’s newest van will get a grand welcome on Oct. 15, when The Floating Hospital and Queensbridge Health hold a ribbon cutting ceremony with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
The borough president will also be honored for her support of The Floating Hospital, a medical charity that provides free shuttle service from the city’s family homeless shelters to and from local medical facilities, along with low-cost health care.
“We really want to make these families whole and give them the service that they need,” said Hannah Stein, the executive director of the Floating Hospital Foundation.
Based in Long Island City, The Floating Hospital serves about a quarter of the city’s homeless population, according to Stein, or about 13,000 people a year. The vans travel to more than 400 family homeless shelters, domestic violence safe houses and hotels every week day.
“Our vans cover enough distance each year to go around the world 7 times,” said Stein.
Over the last two years, Katz designated capital funding to help The Floating Hospital purchase new vans to help northwest Queens residents living in the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria Houses public housing complexes, as well as homeless families throughout the borough.
“The Floating Hospital does incredible work here in Queens and across the city, providing health care to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers each year,” said Katz “Our borough is a healthier, better place because of the tireless efforts of The Floating Hospital.”
Katz has also provided capital funding to support the hospital’s relocation to a larger space at 21-01 41st Ave. in Long Island City next year.
According to Stein, the new location is one and a half times the square footage of the current TFH clinic which will allow the current to healthcare programs to expand. The new space will also have a list of new services to further help homeless families and other low-income populations in northwest Queens.
At the current location, 20 percent of services are free of charge to low-income patients. The organization provides primary medical, dental and mental healthcare services and is the largest provider of healthcare to the homeless families and domestic violence survivors in New York City.
The Floating Hospital, which was founded in 1866, was one of the first healthcare charities in New York City, dedicated to caring for the sick children of the poor. It nonprofit got its name since first conducted by steamboat tycoon John Starin for the benefit of newsboys, war veterans, and the needy.
“The Floating Hospital does incredible work here in Queens and across the city, providing health care to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers each year. Our borough is a healthier, better place because of the tireless efforts of The Floating Hospital.