Harlem’s Espaillat Announces Submission Of Millions In Community Project Funding Requests

April 29, 2021

Today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat announced that he has taken full advantage of the House Appropriations Committee’s earlier announcement that they would accept requests for funding community projects.

A revised version of the process formerly known as “earmarking” that allows individual members of Congress to direct funding to critical initiatives in their districts.

“I am pleased to submit these project requests on behalf of my constituents and look forward to working with my colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee to secure as much funding as possible for my district,” said Rep. Espaillat. “I was encouraged by the high level of engagement in this process by our community, and I look forward to continuing to work with organizations and agencies in my district to secure funding for these projects as well as others in future funding cycles.”

As part of this process, Rep. Espaillat was allowed to recommend up to 10 projects, of which the House Appropriations Committee will select a handful for funding. Last month, Espaillat announced guidance and instructions for local government agencies and non-profit organizations to apply for limited funding for projects that would benefit his constituents. Once projects are selected by the Appropriations Committee, they will have to remain in the annual federal funding bills as they move through the House and Senate to eventually become law.

In all, nearly 50 proposals were submitted. Given the abbreviated timeline between the Appropriations Committee’s announcement and its deadlines for requests to be submitted, Espaillat chose projects that had the highest likelihood of committee approval given its very narrow eligibility parameters, as well as those with strong demonstration of community support. He also chose to focus on projects that would contribute most to ongoing COVID-19 relief and recovery, as well as community investment. Among the projects selected are efforts that would reduce hunger, tackle health and other inequities, and train a new generation of technology and infrastructure workers in underserved communities.

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Next year, with a longer runway for receiving and adjudicating applications, Espaillat plans to develop a process similar to “participatory budgeting” that will allow members of the communities he represents to provide input on the ranking and selection of applications to submit to the Appropriations Committee.

As required by the House Committee on Ethics and House Committee on Appropriations, Rep. Espaillat has listed basic information about his 10 requests on his website and posted letters certifying that neither he nor his immediate family have any financial interest in the proposed projects. A list of submitted “Community Project Funding” requests can be view at https://espaillat.house.gov/project-submissions-FY2022 as well as below. Projects are listed alphabetically.

Project name: ARC Community Kitchen
Requestor name: ARC XVI, FT. Washington, Inc.
Requestor address: 4111 Broadway, New York, NY 10033
Amount requested: $400,000
Project/Request location: 516 West 181 Street, New York, NY 10033

Project summary: The funding would be used to build a new kitchen for the ARC XVI Fort Washington Senior Center, which is being relocated to 516 West 181 Street, New York, NY 10033. The build-out of the new space does not include the kitchen. For the past 48 years ARC has provided home-cooked meals from our community kitchen for older adults 60+. They have also cooked take-home meals for seniors who are unable to leave their homes. In addition, they will expand to serving breakfasts, as well as continuing their weekly food pantry. The kitchen in their previous space has been used as a classroom to teach seniors to prepare nutritionally sound meals that require limited cooking, to support the desire of older adults to remain healthy and independent in the community.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Bronx Digital Equity Coalition
Requestor name: The Bronx Foundation, Inc.
Requestor address: 557 Grand Concourse, Suite 3 #125, Bronx, NY 10451
Amount requested: $650,000
Project/Request location: same as requestor

Project summary: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted significant disparities in the education, health, and wellbeing of Bronx residents. Technology and connectivity were problematic before the pandemic began. Limited access during the pandemic exacerbated issues of equity and inclusion, specifically in the areas of economic growth and education. Almost 40% of Bronx residents still do not have access to high-speed internet. This project will establish and build the capacity of The Bronx Digital Equity Coalition (BDEC), a community-led and owned model to build broadband infrastructure. An investment in broadband will drive recovery not only during emergence from COVID-19, but position Bronx neighborhoods well into the future. Grant funds will cover assessment activities and partnership cultivation. BDEC will be an independent entity with its own legal structure and include representation from residents with the goal of preserving and enhancing community digital infrastructure.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Bronx Recovery Corps at Lehman College
Requestor name: Lehman College, City University of New York
Requestor address: 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx, NY 10468
Amount requested: $250,000
Project/Request location: same as requestor

Project summary: The Bronx Recovery Corps at Lehman College (BRC) in its pilot semester of operation has matched 36 Lehman College students with small businesses, nonprofits, and public institutions to assist with the economic recovery of the Bronx due to COVID-19. BRC student fellows earn a living wage of $17/hr. for 10 hours per week, contribute to the Bronx community recovery, and are enrolled in a course that allows them to earn academic credit and progress towards graduation. BRC Fellows learn about existing industries & organizations in the Bronx, gain valuable career skills, such as teamwork, communication, leadership, problem solving/critical thinking, and cultural fluency. This request will support 25 students with part-time wages for the next academic year as they support the economic recovery and revitalization in the Bronx due to COVID-19, a BRC coordinator to administer the program to 50 students, ongoing workshops, virtual programming and additional summer internships that would occur before the end of FY2022. When taxpayers support higher education programs, college education becomes more attainable for students. By connecting students’ academic progress to training and a Bronx Recovery Corps fellowship, Lehman College is building a network of employers and trained and well-qualified students who will be equipped with the soft skills to obtain gainful employment upon graduation, stay employed in the Bronx and contribute to the economic recovery of this great borough.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Charles B. Rangel Center for Infrastructure Workforce Training
Requestor name: City College of New York, City University of New York
Requestor address: 160 Convent Avenue New York, NY 10031
Amount requested: $1,500,000
Project/Request location: same as requestor

Project summary: The Charles B. Rangel Center for Infrastructure Workforce Training will train for construction and operations across multiple infrastructures – transport, energy, communications, water and wastewater, food, health in built environments – with emphasis on digital skills for advanced forms of project management, system supervisory control and operations management. Experiential and simulation-based curriculum developed with industry stakeholders, extensive lab and remote-learning use of computers, smart phones, digital tools and apps. Coverage of GIS, BIM, SCADA, sensors and sensor arrays, working with data, AI and robotics. Community-based recruitment of trainees. Multi-media learning to facilitate the success of nonacademic learners. Focus on both entry-level positions and career paths. Opportunities for continuing work-study through CCNY programs. The Center addresses our country’s and region’s vast and diverse infrastructure needs using 21st-century tools and methods. The basic objective of the Center is to train and prepare women and men of underserved communities for meaningful jobs and lifelong careers.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: CLOTH Food Pantry Reimagined
Requestor name: Community League of the Heights Inc. (CLOTH)
Requestor address: 500 West 159th St, New York , NY 10032
Amount requested: $740,000
Project/Request location: 508 West 159th St, New York , NY 10032

Project summary: This request is for the physical expansion of CLOTH’s existing Food Pantry. Our current Pantry will be upgraded, expanded, and re-engineered to better serve our community. The new pantry will be a short-term emergency food-based distribution facility and a long-term center to address the root causes of the food insecurity. They will increase the square footage of the Pantry by 15%. Additional space will give room to add more refrigerators and freezers to store more fruit, vegetables and meat. In addition, new shelving will be installed to accommodate more packaged food.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Columbia COVID-19 Northern Manhattan Community Mental Wellness Corps
Requestor name: Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Requestor address: 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032
Amount requested: $750,000
Project/Request location: same as requestor

Project summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on residents of the 13th Congressional district.  Higher rates of mental disorders have worsened gaps in mental health services for vulnerable communities. It is critical to increase access to timely, effective, culturally relevant mental health care among community members.  The Columbia COVID-19 Northern Manhattan Community Mental Wellness Corps (CmwC) will address this mental health disparities crisis in Northern Manhattan and parts of the Bronx by building capacity and increasing community employment opportunities, either directly or through addressing the community mental health needs. Informed by our work in Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and low-resource settings in the US and abroad, CmwC will provide training and increase access to mental health services by partnering with churches and trusted community-based organizations. Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry is the #1 ranked psychiatry program in New York State, making us ideally suited to lead this project. CmwC will create model of community-based mental health service delivery replicable in other distressed communities in the US.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Mission Society: Level Up
Requestor name: NYC Mission Society
Requestor address: 646 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037
Amount requested: $1,114,000
Project/Request location: various locations

Project summary: Level Up programs serve as a key component of New York City’s effort to reduce the high school drop-out rate, and prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce. This is especially true for English Language Learners, who already struggle with additional educational obstacles as they adapt to life in a new country and negotiate new cultural and social environments. The Mission Society’s Level Up program offers 1,800 over-age and under-credited high school students with academic persistence, career exposure, paid internship, college access, mental health, and leadership development services. This holistic approach addresses both academic and non-academic barriers to graduation, ensuring students are motivated to complete their diploma and understand the opportunities available to them in the future.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP): Telehealth Connected Care Hubs
Requestor name: Montefiore Medical Center
Requestor address: 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467
Amount requested: $3,351,144 (submitted in coordination with other members of Congress)
Project/Request location: various locations

Project summary: Montefiore Medical Center (MMC) proposes Telehealth Connected Care (TCC), a transformative program that addresses the future of health care delivery as well as the COVID-19-disrupted health process by increasing access to health care for patients and their families in the most affected, high-need areas of the Bronx, New York. MMC will add stable broadband connectivity, bandwidth, and WIFI capacity to a comprehensive and integrated system of health care settings at the Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP), the largest full-service school-based network in the country which serves over 42,000 students. It aims to expand service connections for patients in the school community for uninterrupted care access; extend services to their families; link siblings and adults to the nearest MMC ambulatory site; and expand families’ connection to the provision of social service needs (e.g., food, jobs, housing, legal issues).
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: NYUL Building Renovation
Requestor name: New York Urban League
Requestor address: 204 West 136th Street, New York, NY, 10030
Amount requested: $1,739,440
Project/Request location: same as requestor

Project summary: NYUL is seeking support to maintain full ownership of its historic building in Central Harlem. Funds will be used to fully renovate this 110-year-old building including the restoration of the façade, replacement of the roof, upgrading the HVAC and electrical systems. The resulting space will feature programmatic spaces, meeting rooms, and training rooms and a Small Business Development Center which will incubate new businesses and foster new jobs in emerging industries.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Project name: Weisberg Commons renovation
Requestor name: Yeshiva University
Requestor address: 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY 10033
Amount requested: $1,000,000
Project/Request location: 2495 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10033

Project summary: Yeshiva University proposes the renovation of Weissberg Commons, a multipurpose events space located on the ground floor of 2495 Amsterdam Avenue in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The project is anticipated to provide critical structural upgrades to the space and modernize audiovisual equipment utilized in both academic and public-facing events, extending the useful life of the space and providing an improved experience for visitors.
Statement of no financial interest (certification).

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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