2010-07-16 / Letters

Adult Mentally Ill Rockaways Residents

Dear Editor,

I am writing to reply to Howard Schwach’s comments in The Rockaway Beat regarding mentally ill adult residents in the Rockaways.

In reply to the statement “... think about having a dozen of them living on your block.” Rockaway is already home to over 1,700 of the over 4,500 residents of adult mental health facilities in New York City. We already have in Rockaway one-third of the NYC mentally ill adult facility residents. The present concentration in Rockaway is due to the existence of the many for-profit adult mental health facilities in Rockaway to which people from the five boroughs are sent. There is no good reason to think that 1,700 mentally ill adults are going to be renting in the Rockaways as opposed to scattered across the five boroughs.

Panhandling and threatening shoppers occurs constantly on Beach 116 Street because the residents of the Park Inn receive minimal care and zero supervision in order to maximize the profits of the owners of the Park Inn. In addition, the 100 Precinct does not make the slightest effort to enforce existing laws re: loitering, panhandling, harassment,


menacing, public urination, etc. on Beach 116 Street. The 100 Precinct does not enforce existing laws as enforced in the Times Square Pedestrian Mall.

Nor is there any good reason to doubt that, under the supervision of non-profit advocacy groups for the mentally ill, the formerly neglected and untreated prisoners of the Park Inn cannot live independently, wherever they reside. The purpose of the Park Inn is to make certain that no one ever gets better and leaves to live independently, because then the checks stop coming every month. The advocacy groups genuinely want the people under their care to get better, and many do indeed improve once removed from a place like the Park Inn. The advocacy groups do far more than visit once or twice a week; they provide a comprehensive plan of support services, including medical treatment by real doctors, medication compliance, substance abuse monitoring, and assistance in day to day living, including shopping, cleaning, and meals.

Judge Garufus enforced the Americans with Disabilities Act, freeing the prisoners of the callous, greedy owners of the Park Inns of the world to live outside the walls of for-profit confinement. They will receive governmental and non-profit groups’ assistance and supervision. They will no longer be concentrated in the Rockaways. “ The former residents will be better off, and so will our neighborhoods.

Rockaway residents should cheer, not fear, the closing of the Park Inn and the many other for-profit adult mental health facilities in the Rockaways. The closing of these institutions opens the door to bringing back Beach 116 Street and other locations.


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