Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) July 29 unveiled a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Queens, a dynamic community center at One Flushing offering expanded services for immigrant families, seniors and small business owners. Elected officials, neighborhood partners and community members joined a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new facility.
AAFE co-developed One Flushing, the largest 100% affordable residential project to open in Flushing in decades. The community center, located on the second floor of 133-29 41st Avenue, is a one-stop shop for immigration, senior, small business and homeownership programs and services.
“After opening One Flushing’s 231 units of housing for low- and middle-income residents earlier this year, we are excited to debut our brand new community hub today,” said Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, AAFE’s co-executive directors. “AAFE believes in a holistic approach to community development, which is why One Flushing not only addresses Flushing’s critical need for affordable housing, but also offers essential multilingual community services, programs to empower entrepreneurs and homeowners and support for Flushing’s growing senior population.”
One Flushing includes a new location of the AAFECare Senior Center, with a beautiful outdoor garden for exercise sessions and passive recreation, a dance studio, game/television room and an all-purpose room where daily meals and cultural and social activities will take place. An adjoining light-filled office space serves as a new home for AAFE’s Flushing Community Services, as well as Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) and AAFE Community Development Fund (AAFE CDF).
The offices at One Flushing, situated adjacent to the LIRR Railroad’s Main Street Station and 7 train, boast a convenient location in the heart of the downtown area. AAFE will continue to operate a separate office at 35-34 Union St. in Flushing, where the organization’s Youth Program and Workforce Development Program are based.
AAFE’s counselors are available to assist community members with citizenship applications, family petitions, Medicare applications, medical billing issues, SNAP benefits (food stamps), reduced fare MetroCards and SCRIE applications (senior housing rent exemptions). Residents may also enroll in regularly scheduled naturalization classes, including English language and American civics courses. Services are available in English, Chinese and Korean.
REDC, AAFE’s small business affiliate, is offering expanded services for local entrepreneurs, including low-interest small business loans, counseling and workshops for startup businesses in Chinese and Korean. Business financing is available up to $250,000.
AAFE CDF, the organization’s homeownership affiliate, is offering in-depth homebuyer counseling and assistance, assistance with completing mortgage applications, as well as Chinese-language homebuyer education seminars and workshops.
AAFE’s One Flushing office is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Community members are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 718-961-0888. A community open house, with information about all of AAFE’s programs — including community, senior, small business and homeownership programs — will be held Saturday, Aug. 10 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
New York State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky said, “I am delighted that AAFE is opening the One Flushing Community Center. It will serve as a resource to provide a better future for our neighbors in Flushing. The center is an integral part in the Asian-American community and I am thankful to see AAFE step in and help our residents take advantage of the exciting programs and resources in a new state-of-the-art facility. I commend the hard work of AAFE for striving to help residents get the help they need.”
New York State Sen. John Liu said, “It’s inspiring to see the ways AAFE enacts its mission to be of authentic value to the Asian American community, and the opening of the new Queens headquarters is not any different. With its holistic list of on-site resources, this hub is a reflection of AAFE’s advanced understanding of the needs of the community whom they support.”
New York City Council Member Peter Koo said, “Congratulations to AAFE on the grand opening of its Community Service Center. This centralized Flushing location in One Flushing is primed to serve our constituents with a variety of housing, immigrant, senior and small business services. AAFE’s expansion is a telltale sign of the health and vibrancy of not only its own growth and services, but that of our entire Flushing community. I look forward to continuing our partnership on behalf of the community we serve.”
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng said, “I’m proud to join Asian Americans For Equality for the grand opening of its community service center, and I congratulate the organization on this momentous occasion. AAFE does outstanding work in enriching the lives of Asian Americans, and this new facility will help its staff do an even better job in assisting the many people they serve. I look forward to this center benefiting the Asian American community for many years to come.”
On Feb. 21, AAFE and project partners Monadnock Development and the Queens based nonprofit group HANAC officially opened the 231 rental residences at One Flushing. The 10-story building includes apartments ranging in size from studios to 3-bedrooms and serves very low-, low-, and moderate-income individuals and families, and includes 66 units reserved for very low-income senior residents (age 62 or older). One Flushing features 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail space for local Flushing businesses, 15,000 square feet of community facility space, children’s playroom, gym, a rooftop farm, with programming coordinated by GrowNYC and building residents. There are also 156 public parking spaces located in an underground garage. The project was built on the site of a former city-owned parking lot.
AAFE is a 45-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Asian Americans and all of those in need. It has developed and preserved approximately 1200 units of affordable housing throughout New York City, and serves 20,000 New Yorkers every year with an array of immigrant and social services. AAFE organizes low-income tenants and other neighborhood residents to advocate for an equitable city. Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) was founded in 1997 with a mission of creating opportunity by enabling immigrant entrepreneurs to access capital and educational resources. AAFE Community Development Fund (AAFE CDF) was founded in 1999 to help immigrant families become first-time homeowners. Since its creation, REDC has injected more than $50 million into NYC communities, while AAFE CDF has provided more than $400 million in mortgage financing. AAFE opened its first office in Flushing more than two decades ago. The organization also maintains offices in Manhattan’s Chinatown and the Lower East Side and in Jackson Heights, Queens.