The recipient of the largest single grant from City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ (D-East Elmhurst) discretionary funds is not located in her district, but the councilwoman said those funds will help those she represents.
Ferreras, whose district includes East Elmhurst and parts of Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights, gave $35,000 to the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, which is in Manhattan. CUNY’s grant request asked for ?funds to provide free immigration legal services to New Yorkers, and Ferreras said CUNY provides these services in her district office.
“They come in and provide an incredible service,” the councilwoman said.
Ferreras, who sits on the Council Finance Committee and was part of the negotiating team, received around $261,000 in discretionary funds this year. Much of her funds went to nonprofits in her district aimed at helping the young and old, with special emphasis on Hispanic, Pacific-Asian and LGBT populations.
Some of her recipients include the Dominico-American Society of Queens, which received $45,000 in three grants; Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, which received a collective $27,857, the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly Inc., which received $25,000; and the Library Action Committee of Corona-East Elmhurst, which received $20,000.
She also gave $15,000 to local nonprofits Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York and $15,000 to Queens Community House, which operates one of its programs for LGBT youth in Jackson Heights.
But she gave other funds to organizations that she said would give the best services to her constituents. She earmarked $21,000 for the city Sanitation Department for additional baskets and additional services on Roosevelt Avenue from 82nd to 104th streets, saying the amount of garbage was “unbearable.”
“Do they provide a citywide service? Absolutely. Are they going to do this on Roosevelt Avenue? Yes,” Ferreras said.
Some funds also went to work that supplement Ferreras’ position as head of the Women’s Issues Committee. She mentioned in particular Hollaback Inc., a citywide organization that provides victims of street harassment information to properly report the crime. Ferreras said she met this group during a hearing she held on street harassment.
“The response was amazing and Hollaback really helped bring some tools to empower women,” the councilwoman said.
Ferreras said that while this was a tough budget year, she believed the process was transparent and praised the work of Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).
“I felt that it was very fair and everyone had an opportunity to express what they needed to express,” Ferreras said.