Listed below is an article from the Albany Times Union regarding a law
suit involving individuals with mental health related issues having the
ability to move back into their adult home after they tried moving to more
independent settings.

The most significant piece around this issue is the narrative around adult
home reform. This narrative should not be about the few people who left
adult home for more independent setting and then moving back to the homes,
it is about all the people transitioning into the community from adult
homes who are succeeding. That is the true story of reform.

The transition of people with mental illness from adult homes to the
community is a positive reform of our system. We know that people live a
life of recovery when they are provided with a series of housing options
and are getting appropriate support. Instead of challenging the State for a
few people who want to go back to their adult homes, the broader issue is
about insuring that individuals get the appropriate housing to their needs
and the services that they need to progress in their lives.

The other piece to realize is that this process is completely driven by
choice. No one is forcing residents to leave the home. They get the
appropriate in reach with housing providers, an assessment through the
Health Home and an availability of housing options. Individuals determine
if they want to leave the home. 

The bottom line issue is that there has to be more funding for existing
housing supports, for future housing options for people with mental illness
as well as enhanced community services. We must increase the number of
housing units for people in adult homes, nursing homes, psychiatric
centers, prisons or living with aging parents. People thrive with housing
options and community supports. To not provide that funding will have
negative consequence for individuals with mental illness and their loved
ones.

Lawsuits charge New York rules discriminate against mentally ill Action
claims state failed to support mentally ill people

By Claire Hughes

Published 10:04 pm, Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four New Yorkers with mental illness, including two Albany County
residents, are suing the state for blocking their ability to live in adult
homes.

The lawsuits expose what may be an unintended consequence of a move several
years ago to prevent adult homes from warehousing the mentally ill. Because
the homes now have a cap on the number of mentally ill people who may live
there, mentally ill people are not able to move into them when they want
to, the lawsuits suggest.

The problem has arisen because the state has failed to provide adequate
support services for mentally ill people who attempt to live in their own
apartments, according to *Jeffrey Sherrin*
,
the Albany attorney who has filed the suits.

“You should not be allowed to lure seriously mentally ill, vulnerable
people away from their adult homes with promises of new, independent and
well-attended lives in their own apartments and then fail to deliver,” said
Sherrin.

His clients also include adult homes, which have joined the lawsuit.

In a joint statement, the state Department of *Health and Office of Mental
Health*

said they would continue to uphold rules intended to allow mentally ill
New Yorkers to live in the least restrictive, appropriate setting.

“We are closely examining the issues and concerns of the mental health
community and fully support an individuals’ right to choose where they live
and receive care,” the statement said.

The lawsuits charge that regulations promulgated by the state in 2013
discriminate against people with mental illness based solely on their
condition by limiting their housing options. The regulations limit the
number of mentally ill residents at adult homes to 25 percent of the
facilities’ total occupants.

Advocates for the mentally ill fought for years to get their constituents
out of adult homes, which were often substandard facilities, according
to Glenn LiebmanCEO of the Mental Health Association
of New York State. People were typically placed in the homes, often at
state cost, after being discharged from psychiatric centers or hospitals.

Advocates argued people with serious mental illness would be better off
living independently, but with supports like care managers who would
ensure they kept counseling appointments and stayed on Medicaid or some
other health insurance. Unfortunately, Liebman said, those supports have
not always been sufficient.

Liebman said he is not opposed to mentally ill people moving back to adult
homes.

“If every option has been tried and they want to go back into the home, I
don’t see why it’s a bad thing to go back into the home,” Liebman said. “We
want people to have choice.”

In addition to the Albany County residents, the other two plaintiffs live
in Dutchess and Kings counties. The lawsuits do not reveal their names, but
refer to them as “John Doe.”

Sherrin said he intends to bring more lawsuits on behalf of mentally ill
New Yorkers. Liebman, however, said that he does not believe the issue is
widespread.

*chughes@timesunion.com* <chughes@timesunion.com> • 518-454-5417 •
@hughesclaire

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