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May 29, 2016
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Legislator drills down into prisoner releases; Is Sullivan a homeless destination?

The address listed for many state prisoners who are released and have no home to go to is 10 Community Lane in Liberty, NY, the Sullivan County Human Services Complex.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

Some of those prisoners ultimately end up in adult homes in Sullivan County and, in a related development, Joe Tedora, director of the Department of Community Service, said that a new rule has been created by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) regarding adult homes in some counties, including Sullivan. The rule requires that group homes with 80 or more beds not have a population that consists of more than 25% of residents who have a serious mental illness.

Tedora said, “At present time, we project that about 77% of all people in adult homes have a serious mental illness.”

The rule goes into effect in mid May. Adult homes that are impacted, which are the Narrowsburg Home for Adults and the Arcadia Residence in Liberty, must submit a plan to the DOH about coming into compliance. If, after “a reasonable time,” they have not come into compliance, they may be fined $2,000 per month per mentally ill resident beyond the 25% limit.

Tedora said the residents are supposed to be released into a facility that can meet their needs, which prompted Gene Benson to say, “Explain that to the people who were affected when they closed down the Middletown Psychiatric Center, explain that to the people when they closed down all the centers around the state, when they closed down Dannemora State Hospital; they put them out on the street.”

Tedora said, “Quite frankly, I believe the reason the state has started to slow-step this process is they realized they don’t have the community capacity to take these folks out of the adult homes.”