By Jota Borgmann, Senior Staff Attorney, MFY Legal Services, Inc.
State to Fund At Least 2,000 Units of Supported Housing for Residents
On July 23, adult home residents in New York City reached a landmark settlement with the State of New York. The settlement ensures that thousands of residents of 23 large adult homes (see sidebar) will have the opportunity to live in their own homes with the services they need to succeed and be part of their communities.
The settlement follows nearly a decade of litigation in a related case, Disability Advocates, Inc. v. Paterson. The new case, O’Toole v. Cuomo, was brought by residents of three adult homes on behalf of approximately 4,000 residents citywide. The plaintiffs alleged that New York State unnecessarily segregates people with mental illness in adult homes in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “This case puts a face on people with mental illnesses and our struggle to be integrated back into the community at large,” said Plaintiff Steven Farrell, a resident of Oceanview Manor Home for Adults in Brooklyn. The settlement offers adult home residents “freedom and the ability to grow,” said Plaintiff Raymond O’Toole.
The State agreed to fund at least 2,000 units of supported housing for adult home residents, and more if needed. Every adult home resident who qualifies will have the choice to move to community housing within five years. Supported housing is an apartment in the community that comes with rent assistance and support services. Residents can live alone or with roommates if they choose. The support services may include visits from case managers or help with moving, healthcare, shopping, medication, or personal care.
Many adult home residents are excited about finally having the opportunity to move out of adult homes and have more freedom and choice in their day-to-day lives. “I’m thrilled about this settlement,” said Plaintiff Ilona Spiegel. “At my adult home, they don’t do anything to inspire you or encourage you to move forward. I know how to take care of myself. I want to work my way back to independence.”
MFY Legal Services, Inc. represents the adult home residents with co-counsel from Disability Rights New York, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Urban Justice Center and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP.
Adult home residents in New York City who have questions about the settlement may call MFY toll-free at (877) 417-2427.
The settlement will affect residents with serious mental illness living in these 23 adult homes:
Belle Harbor Manor
Brooklyn Adult Care Center
Central Assisted Living, LLC
Elm York LLC
Garden of Eden Home
Harbor Terrace Adult Home and Assisted Living
Kings Adult Care Center
Lakeside Manor Home for Adults
Mermaid Manor Home for Adults
New Gloria's Manor Home for Adults
New Haven Manor
Oceanview Manor Home for Adults
Park Inn Home
Parkview Home for Adults
Queens Adult Care Center
Riverdale Manor Home for Adults
Rockaway Manor HFA
S.S. Cosmas and Damian Adult Home
Seaview Manor, LLC
Surf Manor Home for Adults
Surfside Manor Home for Adults
Wavecrest Home for Adults