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New York - Judge Ordered State to Move All Mentally Ill Out of Group Homes

Published on: March 1, 2010 01:39 PM
By:  NY Times
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New York - New York State must immediately begin moving thousands of people with mental illness into their own apartments or small homes and out of large, institutional group homes that keep them segregated from society, a federal judge ordered on Monday.

The decision by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn followed his ruling in September that the conditions at more than two-dozen privately run group homes in New York City violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by leaving the approximately 4,300 mentally-ill residents isolated from the outside world in warehouse-like conditions.

The remedial plan offered by Judge Garaufis, which drew from a proposal presented by advocates for the mentally ill and was backed by the Justice Department, calls on New York to develop at least 1,500 units of so-called supportive housing a year for the next three years. In supportive housing, a resident lives alone or in small groups and receives specialized services from counselors who visit as needed.

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The judge said that only people with the most severe mental illness, including those deemed a danger to themselves or others, should be housed in group homes. He also said that residents who were eligible for supportive housing may choose to stay in group homes as long as they have been apprised of their options.

The order begins a process aimed at transforming a system that first took shape in the 1960s. The government embraced group homes as a way to care for people with mental illness following the rapid closure of large state-run hospitals, a process known as deinstitutionalization, but that became defined by continued lax state regulation and poor private management of the group homes.

A series of articles in The New York Times in 2002 described a system in which residents were poorly monitored and barely cared for, with residents left to swelter in the summer and sometimes subjected to needless medical treatment and surgeries for Medicaid reimbursement.

The state argued that conditions had improved markedly at group homes in recent years, but the judge ruled last year that their very setup discriminated against residents by keeping them separated from society and providing little encouragement to find work, make friends or learn skills like cooking, shopping or budgeting.

The order by Judge Garaufis offered a stinging rebuke of the much less sweeping proposed remedy offered by the state, which continued to dispute many of the findings of his previous rulings and which sought to cap the number of new supportive housing units at 1,000, to be made available on a more restrictive basis over five years. “The court is disappointed and, frankly, incredulous that defendants sincerely believed this proposal would suffice,” the judge wrote in his ruling Monday.

The state had argued that, particularly in current economic conditions, such a mandate would be too expensive. But the judge wrote last year that evidence showed that supported housing would cost only $40,253 a year per resident, about $7,500 less than it costs to place them in a group home.

On Monday, the judge ordered the appointment of a federal monitor to ensure the state followed his plan and said that both sides must suggest candidates by the end of the week.

“Defendants’ demonstrated resistance to the remedy, as evidenced by their refusal to abide by the court’s findings in crafting their patently inadequate proposal, further highlights the need for a Monitor in this case,” he wrote.


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Read Comments (39)  —  Post Yours »

2

 Mar 01, 2010 at 01:54 PM Anonymous Says:

This is just another inappropriately powerful instance of legislating from the bench. The judge has a point – the needs of the mentally ill are not always being met by the current system. This is a fragment of the health care crisis. However, the sweeping efforts to “reform” it are based on exaggerated “rights” or similar issues. The real solution, as tough as it may be to implement, should be case-by-case review. That would put direct burden on the “system”. This judge may be well meaning, but lacks the training to make such evaluations. So he effectively thrusts the burden onto the remainder of the population, and leaves it to us all to come up with a resolution. Maybe this guy thinks we’ll buy into Obamacare (chas veshalom). This is also the problem with Obama’s plans. Little attention to reality, socialist ideas for bigger government, and tax everyone to death. Why not ask those in the health care field? I’d love to see health care reform designed by health care specialists, not politicians or judges with agendas.

3

 Mar 01, 2010 at 01:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Der matsev zeit ous shmul. What about Hmaspik, Ohel or Chish ???

4

 Mar 01, 2010 at 02:09 PM Liberalism is a mental disorder Says:

Just one more ruling that will lead this country into bankrupcy

5

 Mar 01, 2010 at 02:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Der matsev zeit ous shmul. What about Hmaspik, Ohel or Chish ???

these are going to make it big now

6

 Mar 01, 2010 at 02:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Did you read the article?

"The judge said that only people with the most severe mental illness, including those deemed a danger to themselves or others, should be housed in group homes."

7

 Mar 01, 2010 at 02:22 PM yosse nathan Says:

as someone who sometimes works with such people and has eaten with such people over the years , they do have allot to offer and maybe we should treat them with more respect and then they could offer us so much more .

8

 Mar 01, 2010 at 02:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Der matsev zeit ous shmul. What about Hmaspik, Ohel or Chish ???

This judge may be well meaning, but lacks the training to make such evaluations. So he effectively thrusts the burden onto the remainder of the population, and leaves it to us all to come up with a resolution. Maybe this guy thinks we’ll buy into Obamacare (chas veshalom).

9

 Mar 01, 2010 at 02:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Please inform yourself before you make such statements! On average, mentally ill people are not more dangerous than the rest of the population. And the article says that the judge wants those mentally ill people who pose a danger to others to stay in group homes.

10

 Mar 01, 2010 at 03:16 PM Anonymous Says:

They are Not permitted to have guns, so I thought, due to "gun control".

11

 Mar 01, 2010 at 03:33 PM Anonymous Says:

the judge takes no consideration of how this decision will impact the many owners of the group homes across new york state, many of whom are frum yidden who makes lots of money from these facilities and whose financial well being will be very adversely affected by this decision.-

12

 Mar 01, 2010 at 03:56 PM deepthinker Says:

most mentally-ill people cannot manage themselves properly. they need a structured environment to survive. this judge is nuts!

13

 Mar 01, 2010 at 04:23 PM esther Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

the judge takes no consideration of how this decision will impact the many owners of the group homes across new york state, many of whom are frum yidden who makes lots of money from these facilities and whose financial well being will be very adversely affected by this decision.-

yes these group homes, like homes for the elderly make big money for their owners.clearly many go into these businesses to make money.that's the bottom line. there is no incentive to actually help people but only to keep costs to a bear minimum.i've visited a group home that was takeh a warehouse.it was simply atrocious.

14

 Mar 01, 2010 at 04:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

the judge takes no consideration of how this decision will impact the many owners of the group homes across new york state, many of whom are frum yidden who makes lots of money from these facilities and whose financial well being will be very adversely affected by this decision.-

I wouldn't worry too much about them. They'll find other ways to make money ("here, come live in this apt. I own over ehre...").

15

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
esther Says:

yes these group homes, like homes for the elderly make big money for their owners.clearly many go into these businesses to make money.that's the bottom line. there is no incentive to actually help people but only to keep costs to a bear minimum.i've visited a group home that was takeh a warehouse.it was simply atrocious.

Please explain how a non-profit enterprise is incentivzed to provide good care.

16

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Many in our community are schizophrenic.
Because of their impairment, they have much more to fear from others than others have to fear from them. 2B

17

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Please inform yourself before you make such statements! On average, mentally ill people are not more dangerous than the rest of the population. And the article says that the judge wants those mentally ill people who pose a danger to others to stay in group homes.

You must be insane. Even people with minor disorders cause misery to everyone around them. Did you ever see a crazy person baking cookies and handing them out at street corners?

18

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

the judge takes no consideration of how this decision will impact the many owners of the group homes across new york state, many of whom are frum yidden who makes lots of money from these facilities and whose financial well being will be very adversely affected by this decision.-

Yes, it's so much more important that these group home owners make more money than it is for the mentally ill to have proper care. We need to remember our priorities.

19

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Please explain how a non-profit enterprise is incentivzed to provide good care.

why do you think there all non-profit?

20

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:50 PM esther Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

You must be insane. Even people with minor disorders cause misery to everyone around them. Did you ever see a crazy person baking cookies and handing them out at street corners?

you are very misinformed.many people have mental health issues that require treatment and medication and they function well in regular society.you surely know people like this without realizing they have an illness. i'm speaking about what you probably mean when you say minor disorders (as compared to schizophrenia).i'm sure if you could see into the medicine cabinets of respected community members or your friends you'd be very shocked.

21

 Mar 01, 2010 at 05:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

You must be insane. Even people with minor disorders cause misery to everyone around them. Did you ever see a crazy person baking cookies and handing them out at street corners?

You don't seem to be aware how broad the spectrum of mental illnesses is. Or you consider it a danger to others if relatives or friends know that someone they love is suffering. But then, every ill person, no matter what kind of illness he has, poses such a danger.

22

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:16 PM Anonymous Says:

I believe both Hamaspik and Ohel operative the small group homes mandated here. This is probably a boon for them, as the funding till now was very difficult. Only problem is almost no one wants it in there neighborhood.

23

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Hey Your Honor, Where do you live??? Wouldn't you like them next door to YOU??? NIMBY!!! Not In My Back Yard!!

24

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:35 PM mottel Says:

I cannot believe the posters here. Many people suffer mental illness yet lead normal lives and do not want or need to be in a group "factory" home. The people posting here need to get out more, you are so bigoted - most of you - it's sad. As for the comment about making money from these homes - no wonder people think Jews only care about money!!

25

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:42 PM Anonymous Says:

if they move next door to the judge will h change his ruling or is it a good ruling in someones elses neighborhood

26

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:44 PM SD Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

the judge takes no consideration of how this decision will impact the many owners of the group homes across new york state, many of whom are frum yidden who makes lots of money from these facilities and whose financial well being will be very adversely affected by this decision.-

Were it not for the (exploitative) way that these many owners had been running their group homes, the judge would have never needed to become involved.

27

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:56 PM rachmunos Says:

the problem is that alot of these people are malnourished and are living on poorly prescribed psychiactric medications. They better work on that if they're going to send these poor people out.
The only reason that they can't pay for the homes any more is because of so many people robbing the system. Get the crooks, get them and clean up the system.

28

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

You must be insane. Even people with minor disorders cause misery to everyone around them. Did you ever see a crazy person baking cookies and handing them out at street corners?

Mazel tov, you have the classic signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder, here's your key to your new room in my group home!

29

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:02 PM AC Says:

I have a family member that lives in a group home due to mental illness and I think that this is a crazy idea. I wouldn't trust my own relative to live in his own home like regular society and I wouldn't want to be around it. This sounds like a dangerous situation. We already have too many mentally ill people walking around town now like lost souls.

30

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:18 PM shnitzy Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

the judge takes no consideration of how this decision will impact the many owners of the group homes across new york state, many of whom are frum yidden who makes lots of money from these facilities and whose financial well being will be very adversely affected by this decision.-

Look at the amount of Jewish Mentally Challenged people here in NY city that it will help, and tell me, shoul we care about those few that are making alot of money, or do the needs of these Special people come first?

31

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:28 PM forensic psych student Says:

Mentally ill people are no more likely to commit crime than people who are not mentally ill. Schizophrenics tend to be a little above the percentage, and that is only a specific type of schizophrenics. Schizophrenia has a couple of subtypes, and they are not all dangerous. There are many types, just to let you know. Please learn the facts before commenting. We need to accept the mentally ill and allow them to come to treatment without feeling shame or embarrassment. It is people with ideas like yours that stop frum people from getting treatment and seeking help out of fear of "stigmas". While this court ruling may not be beneficial, do not make comments about psychology that you don't know the facts about.

32

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

You must be insane. Even people with minor disorders cause misery to everyone around them. Did you ever see a crazy person baking cookies and handing them out at street corners?

PLEASE STOP making comments that you have no idea about! Not all people with mental disorders cause misery to be people around them, as you say. I know many people with disorders ranging from minor to extremely severe. You can learn a lot from all of them, just like from "normal", although there really are no normal people. If you ever read the DSM-IV-R (the diagnostic manual) you will see that almost everyone falls into at least one category of "mentally disordered". Be quiet about things you dont know about. Stop with labeling everyone with a disorder as "causing misery"- you make things up and should learn some facts and meet people with disorders (and their relatives) before commenting on a public forum like this.

33

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Ohel, Womens League Hamaspik run homes within perameter, while Miskan is having problem, this situation is huge and effects the non jewish communities way more than our communitys that generally embrace ALL our people. aside of corse for the jew haters that are to self absorbed to see their own problems.

34

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Our Jewish mentally ill need so much rachmanis and Ohel is a forerunner of this chesed. We as family members of the mentally ill are eternally grateful for their services .

35

 Mar 01, 2010 at 11:39 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

You must be insane. Even people with minor disorders cause misery to everyone around them. Did you ever see a crazy person baking cookies and handing them out at street corners?

Just last week I discovered that a Jewish agency runs a small group home across the street from me. I had been living here since last September and hadn't even noticed. You might want to check your own connection to reality.

36

 Mar 02, 2010 at 08:14 AM Anonymous Says:

I live opposite a group home run by Women's League. The residents are charming & polite, the house is beautifully maintained, the carers are really caring, & it's a pleasure to have them as neighbors. The really severely mentally ill are going to be on the streets. Their families can't handle them & in many cases (obviously not all) they are a danger to others. We know about the ones who expose themselves, push people under trains, randomly stab someone because the victim looked at him, or was wearing blue, or carried a library book. What about the rest who are living in secure places? What happens when they are left unsupervised & on their own?

What about OUR rights to be protected? How long will it be before someone let out of a group home does something horrific?

37

 Mar 02, 2010 at 09:03 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
Charlie Hall Says:

Just last week I discovered that a Jewish agency runs a small group home across the street from me. I had been living here since last September and hadn't even noticed. You might want to check your own connection to reality.

Since when do they give internet connection to group homes, Charlie?

38

 Mar 02, 2010 at 09:17 AM Anonymous Says:

lst me help you..... Think of your neighbor friend or family member thatmay have Mental retardation..... now they can place their child in a community enviroment. not in a state run institution!

39

 Mar 02, 2010 at 09:21 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #29  
AC Says:

I have a family member that lives in a group home due to mental illness and I think that this is a crazy idea. I wouldn't trust my own relative to live in his own home like regular society and I wouldn't want to be around it. This sounds like a dangerous situation. We already have too many mentally ill people walking around town now like lost souls.

they are not talking about living on theier own. the "group HOmes" they want closed are institutional style. Large brick buildings with 50+ people living and socializing between themeselves. Wl, Ohel, hamaspik are Supportive group homes with a limiteed amount of consumer and sufficient staff as needed

40

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