NYAPRS Note: Advocates have been working for decades to get New York State and NYC to provide people with psychiatric disabilities with community housing alternatives to institutional for profit adult homes whose past treatment all too often ranged from neglectful to abusive.
Shameful resistance by home operators and governments ultimately required legal action, leading to a 2014 settlement reached by the Cuomo Administration, US Department of Justice and NY disability rights groups that requires supported housing be provided to over 4,300 NYC adult home residents, in keeping with their ADA rights.
Progress has been far too slow on that front and, in the meantime, conditions in the homes continue to make headlines. Adult homes were developed to support ‘frail elderly’ individuals, not people with psychiatric disabilities, and adult home policies and practices in most NYC homes continue to demonstrate why we can’t move quickly enough to help folks get out of them.
Getting justice for the residents has been a longtime major focus of NYAPRS’ past and current advocacy and will continue to be forefront at our February 23rd NYAPRS Annual Albany Legislative Day.
19 NYC Adult Homes Accused Of Sending Residents to Psych ERs
Barbara Ross New York Daily News December 24, 2015
Nineteen adult homes are accused of using unwarranted 911 calls to discipline mentally and emotionally disabled residents by sending them to psychiatric emergency rooms, according to a new lawsuit.
MFY Legal Services, a nonprofit group that litigates on behalf of the poor, wants the courts to order the city to turn over tapes of 911 calls from those homes.
"MFY has been advised by residents in adult homes ... that these facilities have been using emergency services to inappropriately send residents to psychiatric emergency rooms," MFY's lawyer John Hutchinson says in papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Residents are claiming that adult home staff are "using the threat of hospitalization as a form of retaliation ... for reasons such as complaining about their living conditions or refusing to take their medications," Hutchinson says.
"The use of 911 calls for punitive reasons rather than for true emergencies is a waste of taxpayer dollars, an inappropriate way to discipline residents and an affront to (their) dignity," he adds.
It also adversely affects other New Yorkers who might have to wait longer because city ambulances are tied up with adult home calls, the suit claims
In June, MFY asked the NYPD for all 911 calls from 19 specific homes in the last three years, but the department issued "a blanket denial" saying disclosure would "constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" and could "endanger the life and safety" of people, according to the suit. The department also said disclosure could interfere with "judicial proceedings or an open investigation."
Hutchinson says that under the state Freedom of Information Law, the department has to do a more thorough job of explaining its reasons. He is asking the courts to order the NYPD to release the material.
The 19 homes involved are The Brooklyn and Kings Adult Care Centers, Garden of Eden Home, The Mermaid, Ocean View and Surf Manor Homes and the New South Short Manor, all in Brooklyn; Elm York Assisted Living, Queens Adult Care Center, Sanford Home, The Surfside Manor and Wavecrest Homes for Adults, and New Gloria's Manor, all in Queens; Harbor Terrace, Lakeside Manor and Mariners Residence on Staten Island; Parkview Home and Riverdale Manor in the Bronx; and West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing in Manhattan.
A spokesman for the city Law Department said it will review the case and act accordingly.