Social services center opens in Elmhurst
by Sara Krevoy
Oct 14, 2020 | 1172 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leaders cut the ribbon on the brand new facility during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.
Leaders cut the ribbon on the brand new facility during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.
New Yorkers now have access to a broad-sweeping social services center that will tackle concerns of employment, food security and other factors affecting local communities.

It will operate out of a brand new facility on Queens Boulevard.

Commonpoint Queens and UJA-Federation of New York cut the ribbon on the 9,600-square-foot Queens Hub last week, after an initial delay on opening due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Nearly six months later, the center’s mission resonates even more deeply with the needs of low-income residents across the city.

“The opening of the Queens Hub is the realization of a years-long initiative at the core of UJA’s mission to do all we can to help those in poverty,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation. “With the current pandemic, there’s never been a more pressing need in our lifetimes for this kind of support.”

The Queens Hub’s resources are made accessible to all New York City residents, and are expected to reach 6,000 clients in the first year along.

In addition to programs like case management, mental health counseling, benefits screening, emergency cash assistance and access to the Commonpoint Queens Digital Food Pantry, the facility will also be a touch point for comprehensive workforce development.

Classrooms and computer labs at the Hub will house a mix of virtual and in-person classes geared toward attaining job skills in high-growth industries such as allied health, information technology and solar technology.

High school equivalency and ESL classes will be offered as well, with an emphasis on resume writing and interview preparation.

The Queens Hub also boasts a cutting-edge training kitchen where students can earn culinary arts certifications, giving them a platform toward a career in the industry.

Two of UJA’s nonprofit partners, New York Legal Assistance Group and Hebrew Free Loan Society, will provide Hub clients with legal services and financial counseling and help them access interest-free loans.

As New York City continues to be hit hard by the financial crisis, rampant unemployment and the collapse of industries that once made up the city’s fabric, the Queens Hub is an extension of the work Commonpoint Queens has been doing to meet the needs of communities throughout the pandemic from its centers in Forest Hills, Little Neck and Bay Terrace.

“It is all of our responsibilities to ensure that no one be kept from their dreams,” said Commonpoint Queens CEO Danielle Ellman, “a job paying a living wage, graduating from high school, or providing food for their family. The opening of The Hub will help thousands of people move from crisis back to stability.”

UJA has invested nearly $10 million in the Queens Hub, which will staff close to 40 professionals from Commonpoint Queens and other partners. The organization has committed an additional $1.4 million per year in operating costs for a total of five years.

As a response to a current increase in demand for social services, UJA will open another six satellite Hub locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island and Westchester slated to open in November.

These sites will be open short-term, primarily concentrating on COVID-19 relief and recovery, but UJA says a permanent Brooklyn Hub is in the works.

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