Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Expanding Primary Care Access in Long Island City

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

November 26, 2008








In 2003, 20% of Long Island City residents lived below the poverty line and 26% qualified for Medicaid; today, a large concentration of Long Island City residents live in two low-income public housing developments: Queensbridge Houses and Ravenswood Houses, with Queensbridge Houses being the largest public housing project in the United States.

Together, these complexes house a total of 11,500 residents. Because this neighborhood has been designated a Medically Underserved Area and a Health Professional Shortage Area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2009 the Floating Hospital (TFH) was awarded a grant from NYHealth to expand primary care services for Long Island City residents, with a focus on understanding the unique needs of the public housing project population.

Launched in 1866 as part of the St. John’s Guild of Trinity Church’s efforts to help the sick children of poor and low-income New Yorkers, the Floating Hospital was the City’s first charitable pediatric clinic. Now operating in Queens, it is Long Island City’s only federally qualified health center, providing more than 57,000 visits annually for women and children living in New York City homeless shelters. This NYHealth grant will support efforts to expand the Floating Hospital’s reach beyond homeless shelters and into the broader Long Island City community.

The Floating Hospital currently provides primary care, dental care, and mental health services to people residing in New York City homeless shelters. This NYHealth project supports expanding the reach of the Floating Hospital’s services to Long Island City’s approximately 11,000 medically underserved public housing residents—including those of Queensbridge Houses, which is the nation’s largest public housing project—and an additional 9,000 working poor and uninsured Long Island City residents. Long Island City is a federally designated medically underserved area; has the second-highest proportion of uninsured adults among all New York City neighborhoods; has few private-practice physicians and even fewer who accept public insurance; and has one of the highest rates of emergency room visits.

In addition to providing affordable and accessible primary care services to the LIC community, the project allows the Floating Hospital to provide benefits counseling to help eligible uninsured residents access Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and to offer an affordable sliding fee scale for patients who cannot access other coverage. In its first year, the program is expected to provide more than 6,000 visits to the community and continue to grow thereafter.