Pride House Faces Uncertain Future
By Domenick Rafter
15 July 2010
The Queens Pride House, the only LGBT community center in the borough, is facing an uncertain future in the wake of Gov. David Paterson’s veto of state spending bills in his ongoing dispute with the state legislature.
Gov. Paterson vetoed half a billion dollars in discretionary funding that includes $80,000 for Queens Pride House in the form of two grants, one from the Assembly and one from the Senate.
“We will have to make severe cutbacks,” said Pauline Park, Vice President of the Board of Directors at Queens Pride House. “We even suffer the distant prospect that we will have to close our doors.”
With funding uncertain, Queens Pride House has already be forced to lay off two employees, and fears it may have to lay off more and even left open the possibility that they may have to close its community center on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights.
Park said the Queens Pride House and the Queens LGBT community would pressure the Assembly and Senate to restore the $80,000 in funding that she said has already been spent. The state requires that when a non-profit like Queens Pride House applies for a state grant, it must first spend the money it is asking for and the grant would be a reimbursement. Park said the $80,000 it was asking for has already been spent and the agency is waiting to be reimbursed.
“Basically, the state is reneging on its contract,” she said.
The governor’s veto came in the middle of a battle between himself and the state legislature over the budget, already three and a half months late. Park said she understands the governor’s situation and that Queens Pride Center has been in constant contact with his office over the funding. She does not question his support for LGBT causes, but warns that his veto could hurt people and organizations he supports.
“There’s no question that the governor supports the LGBT community. We understand the dire situation the state of New York finds itself,” Park said. “But by vetoing that funding, the Queens Pride House is now in a dire situation”.
Park is not sure how or when the stalemate in Albany will end and when the Queens Pride House will get its funding back, if at all.
Reach Reporter Domenick Rafter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125.
This article originally appeared in the 15 July 2010 issue of the Queens Tribune.