February 16, 2023
Today, the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) has announced its sponsorship of a laundry service for New York City students in need, as part of the Zone 126 Neighborhood Community Schools efforts at PS 171Q. Thirty families in Astoria and Long Island City will receive free laundry services for a year so that these students can focus on going to school rather than worrying about their clothes.
This sponsorship was celebrated at a press conference today in front of 14th Laundry, the laundromat which will carry out these services. Speakers included CHPE leadership, representatives from Zone 126 and PS 171 local elected leaders, owner of 14th Street Laundry and families who will benefit from the program.
“We’re proud to be part of this community that comes together to help each other in times of need,” said Hydro-Quebec COO Serge Abergel. “Getting a good education is fundamental to child development and we’re happy we can help families address a major cause of chronic absenteeism.”
“Zone 126 has been at the forefront for more than a decade talking about the importance of chronic absenteeism on a local level,” said Zone 126 Executive Director Dr. Anju J. Rupchandani. “We know from talking to families that they are often making choices between putting food on the table, paying the rent or doing laundry. Through the Hydro-Québec and Champlain Hudson Power Express Laundromat Project we are ensuring that families have clean clothes, are not going to be stigmatized, and are therefore far more likely to attend school. Students being in school is the first step to ensuring that educators can support their learning and they can become college and career ready in the long-term.Thank you to Dr. Composto, Principal Laura Kavourias, and Dimitri from the 14th St. Laundry for believing in this idea along with Hydro-Québec and the CHPE team because it shows the collective power around supporting students in building long-term successful habits around attending school.”
“Revolutionary initiatives come in all shapes and sizes, from making Queens a global leader in clean energy to ensuring even a handful of Queens students have clean clothes for school each day. The World’s Borough is deeply grateful to the team behind the Champlain Hudson Power Express for making both a priority,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “The CHPE has proven to be a genuine community-first partner already, years before the clean energy pipeline comes online, and this free laundry service program will make a world of difference for Queens students whose families have fallen on hard times.”
“Kids from low-income communities already have too much on their plate, without having to worry about laundry as well,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. “The fact that this laundry service, free to the families who will benefit from it, will be operated by a local laundromat, with renewable energy, makes this a beautiful model of the sorts of programs we should be investing in much more comprehensively, in the interest of equity, public safety, and the healthiest New York City we can possibly build.”
“It brings me such joy as the Principal of P.S. 171Q that our children and families will be partaking in this very needed resource,” said Principal Laura Kavourias, P.S. 171Q. “Thank you to Zone 126, Hydro-Québec and Champlain Hudson Power Express who have teamed up to support our school community and our neighborhood. The Laundromat Project provides our children an opportunity to attend school everyday and continue learning because they have clean clothes. Our entire P.S. 171Q school community is so grateful to all the partners who have come together to make this happen. Thank you for recognizing our school as a place of need and supporting us to bridge gaps for students.”
“Through this partnership, we will be working together to provide laundry services to families in need, ensuring that they have access to clean clothes and bedding,” said 14th Street Laundry Owner Demetrios Vasiadis. “By joining forces with Zone 126 and Hydro-Québec, 14th Laundry is able to leverage our resources and expertise to create a more equitable and sustainable community. We believe that this partnership is an important step towards creating a brighter future for all members of our community, and we are honored to be a part of it.”
“The Champlain Hudson Power Express is a transformational green energy infrastructure project that will help New York City, including neighborhoods like Astoria, transition away from fossil fuels while bringing forward important community, economic, and public health benefits,” said NYSERDA Vice President of Large-Scale Renewables Georges Sassine. “This partnership is another example of CHPE’s ongoing commitment to ensuring their investments in New York help to empower communities that have been historically left behind.”
“I want to thank Zone 126 for consistently keeping Astoria/Long Island City and our local school needs at the forefront of all that they do,” said Dr. Philip A. Composto-NYC DOE Superintendent, District 30. “Attendance is critical to student long-term success, and through the Laundromat Project and the generous funding from Hydro-Quebec and Champlain Hudson Power Express we are going to be able to collectively improve attendance. Parents should not have to make the difficult choice of whether their children will have clean clothes to attend school due to the lack of finances. Through this project we are eliminating barriers so students can attend school.”
“I am honored to support Zone 126 and P.S. 171Q as they collaboratively launch the Hydro-Québec and Champlain Hudson Power Express Laundromat Project,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder & CEO of Urban Upbound. “For more than a decade, Zone 126 has been thinking about the basic needs of our families in public housing and those living below the poverty line here in Astoria and Long Island City. Ensuring that students have clean clothes and can attend school is a basic need, and its partners like HQ, CHPE, Dr. Composto at the District, Principal Laura, and Dr. Rupchandani coming together who make this a reality.”
“The most important resource in our great state is irrefutably our children. They deserve access to education as much as they do clean air, clean water, and the right to a healthful environment, as mandated by our State Constitution,” said Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “CHPE continues to demonstrate that to be good environmental stewards you must also be good neighbors and community partners. This new initiative is a demonstration of the acts of intersectionality that must be exercised to address and dismantle myriad forms of interlinked injustices – poverty, environmental racism, lack of access to resources and services, and others. This initiative will help children feel more confident when they attend school, and more confidence leads to more scholastic excellence we want for ALL of our children. And the fact that the laundromat CHPE will utilize to assist these families runs on renewable energy is green icing on the cake.”
About the Champlain Hudson Power Express
CHPE involves the construction of an underground and underwater transmission line spanning approximately 339 miles between the Canada–U.S. border and New York City.
CHPE will also provide competitively priced hydropower from Québec that is expected to lower climate emissions and local air pollutants, as well as electricity generation costs throughout the state by $17 billion over the first 25 years of operation, all the while providing increased reliability and resiliency for the downstate grid. The project also provides a total of $3.5 billion in economic benefits to New Yorkers and creates approximately 1,400 family-sustaining jobs during construction, with a commitment to use union labor. CHPE will provide an economic boost to 73 municipalities and 59 school districts throughout New York State with an increase in incremental tax revenue of $1.4 billion in funding for local communities over the first 25 years of the project.
About Zone 126
Zone 126 was created in 2011 to concentrate its efforts on three zip codes, 11101 (NYCHA Queensbridge Houses), 11102 (NYCHA Astoria Houses), 11106 (NYCHA Ravenswood Houses). This catchment area is a concentrated pocket of poverty that includes 20,000 low-income residents across three public housing developments that have the greatest social and economic need in Western Queens, New York. Residents in public housing have expressed a desire to ensure that their children have a high-quality education and resources that support their holistic development as young people over the course of their lifetime. Using a collective impact framework, Zone 126’s role has been to convene local organizations, schools, families, and others to attract resources to neighborhoods often forgotten. Zone 126 has been building school capacity and connecting families to programs such as early childhood education, mental health, arts-based programming, violence prevention, SAT Prep, after-school and much more. As part of Zone 126’s Community Action Response they have created school-based food pantries to close the food insecurity gaps many families are experiencing, across all three of their Neighborhood Community Schools. Now they are working to replicate and expand the Laundromat Project to ensure students have clean clothes and feel confident about coming to school by eliminating barriers.