2012-10-12 / Front Page

Out Of Adult Homes By December

Mentally Ill To Supportive Living Units
By Howard Schwach

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Office of Mental Health don’t think that adult homes are the proper place for the mentally ill.

“Adult homes are not conducive to the recovery and rehabilitation of residents,” a spokesperson for the state told reporters recently.

Rockaway has more than a dozen adult homes, some of them with populations that are more than three-quarters mentally ill, local mental health sources say.

Now, under a plan put forth by Cuomo and the state agency, those adult homes would be limited so that only 25 percent of an individual home’s population could be mentally ill.

Where would the others go?

Under a Request for Proposals that was due back to the state late last week, the others would be placed in the community in which they live, in homes and apartments the state calls “supportive housing” units. The plan is expected to be in place by December.

According to mental health sources who work with adult homes in Rockaway, the new law would force at least some of the adult homes on the peninsula to close down, distributing their patients throughout the community.

Despite the concerns of the community, Cuomo spokesperson Josh Vlastro told reporters, “It is our intent to ensure those who need housing will receive the support they need.”

Some are not so sure.

Daily News reporter Annie Karni spoke with John Graviano, a mentally ill resident of Surfside Manor in Rockaway Beach and to his brother, Tony.

Graviano told Karni that he is afraid he will be forced to move from the home, where he lives with a roommate and gets all of his medical needs taken care of and where his spending money satisfies all his other needs. “I am happy where I am,” Graviano said.

His brother worries about him living in an apartment somewhere in the community.

“A million things can go wrong if my brother is unsupervised,” he told Karni. “At Surfside, he gets three meals a day and there are people around him to take care of him. He’s not in a position where he can regress.”

Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder is opposed to the plan.

In a prepared statement, Goldfeder said, “Without supervision, people who are not taking their medications end up roaming the street and can bring down the whole neighborhood.”

Adult home operators get $39 a day for each mentally ill resident from Social Security.

They argue that limiting their population to 25 percent mentally ill will force them to close down. For advocates of the mentally ill, that would be just fine.

“The adult homes warehouse the mentally ill, violate their Constitutional rights and retard any chance they have for a viable life,” an advocate said. “It is time they close down.”

The adult homes on the Rockaway peninsula that could be impacted by the new state regulations 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.

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