(New York, NY)- Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm A. Smith secured a $250,000 capital funding allocation for Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP) to construct a new building that supports the growing demand for immigrant services sought by the Haitian community in Southeast Queens.
“Providing strong social services for our growing immigrant population is the hallmark of a responsive and caring state government,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm A. Smith. “Through its dedicated staff and critical services offered, HAUP improves the quality of life for over 15,000 members of the Southeast Queens community on a yearly basis. The funds I have secured for HAUP will allow them to continue the extraordinary work they do for the Haitian and immigrant communities in Southeast Queens.”
"I want to applaud my colleague and friend, Senator Smith, for his leadership on this issue," stated New York City Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie (D-Queens). "Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP), under the leadership of Elsie St. Louis Accilien and the HAUP Board of Directors, has become a much-needed institution in the Southeast Queens community. It has been my privilege to work with HAUP on numerous projects assisting the immigrant community here and abroad, and I look forward to continue working with my colleagues in government to ensure that this project becomes a reality."
“I would first like to commend Senator Smith for recognizing the necessity of supporting Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP) and the organization’s efforts to remain the premiere social services organization serving the growing Haitian community of Queens,” said Assemblywoman Barbara Clark. “Through the leadership of the Elsie St. Louis Accilien, Executive Director and her staff, this organization is a place where those who need support, guidance, encouragement and services are welcome.”
“I was losing faith that we weren’t going to get money for our new building, and then when we received word from Senator Smith about the money we were ecstatic,” said Elsie St. Louis Accilien, Executive Director for HAUP. “This is the piece that had been missing to start the project. These dollars are the dollars we need in moving forward to make this project happen, and its all thanks to Senator Smith.”
HAUP, a nonprofit community based organization, will use the funds to demolish its existing home and make way for a new two-story building with private meeting rooms, office space, classrooms, conference room, community space, kitchenette and elevator. The exterior of the new building will feature a drum-shape design to reflect the Haitian culture. The project is expected to begin spring 2010 and cost approximately $3.5 million dollars.
HAUP has outgrown its space at 221-05 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights where it runs 18 programs that include immigration, translation, after school care, adult education and counseling. For more than 30 years HAUP has used two store front locations to provide a supportive environment through education, training, culture, networking opportunities and other support services that allow community members to successfully adapt and thrive. Its aging facility and the growth in demand for services forced HAUP to move some activities to nearby Sacred Heart Catholic School, and search for new space. HAUP has already secured over $3 million for the new building.