New policy forces mentally ill out of adult homes


| mchan@queenscourier.com |

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Sanford Manor Home Care Agency in Flushing and eight other places in Queens would be affected by a new policy that evicts the mentally ill from adult homes.

Adult homes in Queens are now forced to evict hundreds of mentally ill residents and shut out new entrants under a new state policy.

Privately run adult homes in the state, including nine in Queens and nearly 50 in the city, will have to cut their mental health population down to 25 percent, according to regulation put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo last month.

The homes have less than 120 days to move out residents into smaller supportive housing units where they will live on their own.

“Displacing these residents without the proper preparations for their new living will have an adverse effect on patient care and on the communities they will be living in,” said Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder.

The new rule is expected to throw adult homes into financial turmoil, leaders in the field said.

“No assisted living facility with mentally ill populations can remain economically viable,” said Jeffrey Edelman of the New York State Center for Assisted Living. “If this radical social experiment to force the seriously mentally ill to live on their own fails, residents will never be able to return to their adult home because we will be out of business.”

Goldfeder said Queens adult homes, most of which are located in the Rockaways, are also the source of hundreds of local jobs.

“At the end of the day, we have to do what’s in the best interest of the patients and we have to think about the community at large,” he said.

Queens Adult Care Center, one of the borough’s affected adult homes, will have to boot 90 of its 300 mentally ill residents, according to chief administrator Leon Hofman. They would be without regular medication and constant supervision outside of their homes, he said.

“I’m concerned some of these people will not have a place to live or if they’ll make it,” Hofman said.

Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, said he fears some residents will end up freezing to death or wandering without supervision to nearby oceans.

“We didn’t agree with the policy,” he said. “It’s not fair to them, and the state will have to answer for that. I’m not sure they thought that through.”

Cuomo’s efforts come after a similar 2009 ruling by a Brooklyn federal judge who said large adult homes in the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

AFFECTED ADULT HOMES IN QUEENS:

  • Sanford Manor Home Care Agency in Flushing
  • Queens Adult Care Center in Elmhurst
  • Belle Harbor Manor
  • Long Island Living Center
  • New Haven Manor Home for Adults
  • Rockaway Manor Home for Adults
  • Seaview Manor Home for Adults
  • Wavecrest Home for Adults
  • Surfside Manor Home for Adults

 

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