What is the Western Queens Community Land Trust?
The Western Queens Community Land Trust (WQCLT) is a non-profit organization made up of activists, small business owners, professors, artists, students and community members who fight for democratic and equitable land use in western Queens. Many of us have grown up in western Queens or lived here for decades and have been devastated by the rampant and encroaching gentrification, which has destroyed communities and threatens to turn the neighborhoods we call “home” into playgrounds for the rich.
We are working to establish a multi-site, multi-focus community land trust (CLT) to help slow and eventually stop gentrification and act as a stabilizing force for communities across western Queens, from Hunters Point to Flushing. The first phase in this project aims to convert the more-than 600,000-square-foot, publicly-owned Department of Education building in Long Island City into a CLT to create deeply and permanently affordable manufacturing jobs, as well as artist and community spaces. Additional phases could include CLTs that address community needs for affordable housing, commercial space and other public amenities based on the needs of each community.