In celebration of Black History Month, Coney Island Hospital (CIH) honored Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries and community activist Mathylde Frontus for their contributions to Coney Island and their tireless efforts to improve the surrounding neighborhoods.
After Superstorm Sandy devastated Coney Island, Jeffries — who took office just a couple of months after the storm hit — stepped in and secured funds to rebuild the hospital and the Seagate and Brighton Beach communities.
“Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, Mr. Jeffries was here,” said Executive Director of CIH Arthur Wagner. “He was here for us. He was here for the community.
“FEMA has basically granted Coney Island Hospital over $900 million to put up a new building . . . and that was mostly due to the efforts of Mr. Jeffries,” Wagner went on.
Frontus has been assisting Coney Island since well before Sandy. Through her social services organization, United Neighborhood Services, Frontus has helped thousands overcome obstacles such as poverty, mental instability, underdevelopment and incarceration with mental health services, financial literacy classes, and job and housing services. Additionally, she acts as the chairperson of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative, which works to reduce gun violence in the neighborhood.
“It truly has been a life changing experience,” said Frontus, “to see how one person’s idea can turn into a concrete reality and touch so many lives in the community.”