DOH Tells Adult Homes To Move Ahead
Garaufis had ruled that New York State must comply with a lower court decision to begin immediately transferring thousands of people with mental illness out of large, institutional group homes and into their own homes and apartments, a ruling that may well impact Rockaway, where 12 of the group homes are located.
The ruling means that many of the 1,700 mentally ill residents of those homes in Rockaway will have to be moved to support- ed housing units in the community, where they can live independently while still receiving specialized treatment and services.
His ruling said that the roughly 4,300 adult-home residents in 28 adult homes in New York City were not being cared for in the most integrated setting, a violation of federal law.
Garaufis’ ruling gave the state four years to provide housing in community settings for residents of adult homes in New York City. He ordered that the state develop at least 1,500 beds a year for the first three years, and after that, 1,500 beds a year until there are enough for all residents who want to move into community housing.
That ruling was appealed by the state and an offer was made to begin the process much more slowly due to budgetary problems.
Garaufis, however, rejected the state plan and ruled that it would have to begin immediately to place the mentally ill adult home patients within the community.
The Remedial order requires that adult home facilities must:
Grant access and information to the court appointed monitor and her staff;
Allow service providers and representatives of supported housing access to their residents to discuss options;
Inform all prospective residents with a mental health diagnosis, before being offered placement in an adult home, of other options available to them through supported housing;
Document staff discussions with residents regarding housing options; and
Provide quarterly reports to the department concerning the number of new admissions, the source of payment for the new admissions and the total facility census.
The plan would give nearly all current and future adult home residents the opportunity to move to supportive housing scattered throughout the community, where they could live independently, while still getting visits from nurses, psychologists and other support staff.
Some locals believe that the ruling will prove to be good for Rockaway.
Attorney and Belle Harbor resident Howard Sirota said after the original ruling was made, “Rockaway residents should applaud the federal appeals court lifting the stay of emptying the hell-holes posing as therapeutic assistance, which plague our [Rockaway] neighborhoods. The result of the ruling is that the residents will be scattered around the five boroughs in suitable housing with real therapy and a real hope for an independent life instead of the residents of the five boroughs all being placed in Rockaway.”
“The Park Inn and its ilk must now close at long last,” he added. “The former residents will be much better off, and so will Rockaway.”
Many, however, do not see the judge’s decision as a victory for the Rockaway community.
Jeffrey Edelman, president of the New York Coalition for Quality Assisted Living, which represents the majority of the group homes, called the order “irresponsible” and “deeply disturbing.”
Edelman told New York Times reporter A. G. Sulzburger, “The judge’s decision, entirely following the advocates’ agenda, could force thousands of mentally ill from their stable lives into independent living situations for which the majority are neither psychologically or physically prepared.”
The adult homes on the Rockaway peninsula impacted by the lawsuit and slated to be closed are the Belle Harbor Manor, New Gloria’s Manor Home for Adults, New Haven Manor, Park Inn Home for Adults, Rockaway Manor Home for Adults, Surfside Home for Adults, Central Assisted Living, LLC, Long Island Hebrew Living Center, Seaview Manor and Wavecrest Home for Adults.