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Champlain Hudson Power Express & Zone 126 Announce Expansion of Free Laundry Service Program to Serve Additional 75 Queens Families

Champlain Hudson Power Express & Zone 126 Announce Expansion of Free Laundry Service Program to Serve Additional 75 Queens Families 

Program, now officially known as the SUDZ for School Success Laundry Program, more than doubled in size after seeing more than a 12% increase in attendance for participating students 

Astoria, New York – September 29, 2023 – Yesterday, Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) and Zone 126 announced the expansion of a free laundry service for Queens families in need, after the first three months of the program showed a 12% increase in school attendance for those participating. The program launched in February 2023, as part of the Zone 126 Neighborhood Community Schools efforts at PS 171Q, giving thirty families in Astoria and Long Island City free laundry services for a year. With the start of the initiative showing a clear benefit to participating families, program leaders announced plans to expand the program to an additional 75 middle school and high school families beginning today, bringing the total to 125.

The expansion was celebrated at a press conference today at Long Island City High School’s Family Night. Speakers included CHPE leadership, representatives from Zone 126, Long Island City High School, and 14th Street Laundry.

“We’re so proud to see the measurable positive results of students attending school more often after we launched the laundry program earlier this year, said Hydro-Quebec Energy Services Chief Operating Officer Serge Abergel. “This has been a great success in terms of helping families reduce student absenteeism, ensuring continued learning and development. We’re excited to expand this initiative today to help an additional 75 middle school and high school families, and look forward to the continued positive impacts of the program.”

“I am thrilled to see the initial progress that we have been making with our SUDZ for School Success

Laundry Program at PS 171Q,” said Zone 126 Executive Director Dr. Anju J. Rupchandani. “I cannot thank CHPE & Hydro-Quebec enough for their commitment to supporting our organization and our local schools in combating chronic absenteeism. To have these two groups see a challenge such as clean clothes being a barrier to student attendance and commit to being a partner in this work and look to expand what works, is the definition of partnership success. I could not be more thrilled today to be announcing the expansion here at Long Island City High School our flagship school where we have close to 2000 young people, a quarter of whom reside in NYCHA public housing or local shelters. This is going to be a game changer we feel in terms of student attendance for our young people and their families.”

“Ensuring our kids have the tools they need to succeed in school goes far beyond the walls of the classroom. It means helping students overcome whatever hard times their families may have fallen on and still feel ready to take on the school day,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “That’s what the Champlain Hudson Power Express and Zone 126’s free laundry service program has been doing for months, and I’m thrilled to see the program expand to include 75 more local families. Efforts like these improve educational and emotional outcomes for our students more than we can quantify and I look forward to working with our partners to ensure that continues.”

“Civil rights icon John Lewis said, ‘When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up.’  I am so thrilled that Hydro-Quebec (HQ), and Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) have joined the Long Island City High School family to speak up and support our students and families,” said Long Island City High School Principal Vivian P. Selenikas. “As the Principal of a large comprehensive high school located in Long Island City with three large public housing developments and more than 30 shelters within the area, the committed investment to support the SUDZ for School Success Laundry program is to be applauded. HQ and CHPE have committed to the Northwestern Queens community, and to championing the importance of every student attending our school every day. I know this critical resource will help to alleviate the stress some of our families might feel due to the current unfair economic conditions. Thank you to our lead Community Based Organization, Zone 126 for hearing the needs of our families through our home visits and working to eliminate the barriers that can prevent our young people from attending school.”

“The outcomes from the SUDZ for School Success program are heartening to see, and a great example of how clean energy projects like the Champlain Hudson Power Express can make measurable impacts in our local communities,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris. “NYSERDA is proud to see the Champlain Hudson Power Express living up to its community benefit commitment by breaking down barriers to education in historically underserved neighborhoods.”

“We welcome Long Island City High School, with its vast history of academic excellence and community engagement, to the Zone 126/14th Laundry partnership,” said 14th Street Laundry Owner Demetrios Vasiadis. “This will extend the program’s mission by ensuring that laundry is one less thing for their students to worry about. With the addition of Long Island City High School, Laundry Zone 126 is now serving an even broader and more diverse community, and we look forward to building lasting relationships with the students, staff, and families of this outstanding school.”

“I am thrilled to hear about the initial progress that our feeder elementary school and middle schools are making in terms of attendance improvement through the collaborative efforts of Hydro-Quebec (HQ) and Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) along with Zone 126,” said Queens North High School Superintendent Dr. Hoa Tu. “Attendance is a critical piece to ensuring quality learning happens so that our students can be ready for college and or the world of work. I am excited to see the progress that Long Island City High School will make in terms of attendance improvement for those who are taking part in the SUDZ for School Success Laundry program this school year.”

“Urban Upbound is proud to stand alongside Champlain Hudson Power Express and Zone 126 as they take this crucial step towards building a more equitable and inclusive educational environment with the expansion of the SUDZ to School Laundry Success Program,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder & CEO of Urban Upbound. “This expansion represents a commitment to breaking down barriers to education and supporting our community’s most vulnerable students. We understand the power of dignity and how it can transform a child’s educational journey, and increase their chances for future success. Every child deserves an educational path unburdened by the challenges of clean clothes.”

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.