By Heather Dalton
"How would you feel if your home was being taken away from you?" asked Edith Gordon. "I thought I’d be here forever. I feel insecure right now because I never dreamed it would turn out this way. I feel like it’s a smack in the face. I did nothing wrong."
Edith is a senior citizen residing in the New Haven Plaza Apartments on Beach 13 street in Far Rockaway. As a client of the Enriched Housing for Frail, Elderly, her fears and concerns stem from the fact that the program will no longer be able to service her and 36 other Far Rockaway seniors.
New Perspectives Development Corporation, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that ran the program, recently dissolved. The Enriched Housing component has yet to be picked up by another agency and will no longer exist as of April 1, 2000. This leaves 20 senior citizens living at the Beach 13 street location and 17 seniors residing at the Gateway boulevard site with uncertain futures.
Morris Glass echoes Edith’s sentiment. "I’m lonesome and blue. It was a complete shock to everyone in this place. No one expected this to happen to elderly people who are down on their luck and fortunes."
Enriched Housing is an "assisted living" program. It was developed nearly 17 years ago to help seniors who fell between the cracks of the "adult care" system—people who needed help with the tasks of daily living but didn’t need round-the-clock medical care.
Members of the Enriched Housing staff shop for all the client’s food, provide one cooked meal a day in a congregate dining area, coordinate doctor’s appointments and home care attendance, order all medications, wash residents’ clothes, clean the apartments on a regular basis, and keep in contact with family members. Basically, the program provides its clients with all the benefits of an adult care facility while still giving them a sense of dignity by allowing them to live on their own. As with adult care facilities, funds for the program are derived from the social security benefits and supplementary income of the resident population.
If the program is not picked up by another agency before the end of the month some of the residents will be moved into adult care facilities. Those residents who are able to remain in their apartments will not be getting the quality of care they need.
Rose Moss is the Enriched Housing project director who works out of the Beach 13 street site. Fearing that her clients will be lost if they have to move into large adult care facilities, she said, "A bed in a room is warehousing an adult. It takes away their privacy. Their sense of self is lost."
When contacted, Councilwoman Juanita Watkins told The Wave that she had only recently been informed of the situation regarding Enriched Housing and the senior citizens enrolled in the program. "I consider senior citizens my special constituency," she said.
As of press time Thursday, Councilwoman Watkins was reaching out to several sources to shed some light on New Perspectives Development Corporation and the future of Enriched Housing in Far Rockaway.