Very sad news about the passing of a wonderful man last night—Frank
Jaklitsch. I had the honor of working with him both inside and outside
government. He was a force of nature who spent his entire career fighting
for the rights of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. 

Frank was also a wonderful entertainer who brought smiles to thousands of
faces over the years with his guitar and vocal talent. Also, Frank played
hundreds of benefits and charitable events over the years and would never
take a dime. He was truly a wonderful man who leaves an incredible legacy
of great work.

Listed below is a very moving tribute from our friend Toni Lasicki, the
Executive Director of the Association for Community Living.

Hello everyone – it is with an extremely heavy heart that I bring you this
news. Frank Jaklitsch, who worked as a Budget Analyst in the OMH budget
division, passed away last night of a heart attack. He was on his way to a
Patriots Game.

Those of you in the field for a long time have known Frank for a very long
time – I can only hope that those of you who are newer to our field had the
opportunity to get to know him. He has always been the finance person for
all OMH housing programs. He knew the ins and outs of residential
financing, he amended contracts, he managed the pass-throughs, the bonding,
Supported Housing rates, and more. He intervened in ways large and small
for many agencies over the years. We depended on him. But more than being
an instrumental person at OMH, he has been one of the most giving human
beings that we’ve known. He was an accomplished musician who played venues
weekly in the capital region and beyond, including late into the night at
our annual conference. One of his favorite things to do was coordinate
fundraisers for people in need in his immediate community. But he was also
acutely aware of people in need elsewhere, e.g. by going to New Orleans on
a number of occasions to help after Hurricane Katrina. Frank has been to
every ACL conference, probably since the beginning. He prided himself of
having a complete collection of framed ACL conference brochure covers – if
for some reason he was missing one, he let us know and we had to come up
with it to add to his collection.

Frank received the 2012 ACLAIMH Advocacy Award at our fall conference. The
write-up in that year’s ACLAIMH Conference brochure follows.

“The 2012 ACLAIMH Advocacy Award winner is Frank Jaklitsch. Frank is not
just an advocate for mental health housing programs in New York, but he is
a community advocate for the less fortunate in general. Frank has worked as
a Budget Analyst in the Community Budget and Financial Management Group at
the Central Office of the State Office of Mental Health since 1985.

During his tenure at OMH, Frank has been an avid advocate for community
based housing programs. His knowledge and understanding of community based
housing has been invaluable to ACL Members over the years – he can always
be counted on to provide technical assistance and advice when called upon
or to advocate for a worthy project. NYS – OMH also recognized Frank’s
unique abilities and dedication when it recognized him as their 2012
Employee of the Year for his longstanding budget work. He was described as
the very foundation of his group at OMH. This past year, Frank has been a
significant contributor to the housing restructuring efforts plus the
2009-10 budget development to address the most difficult fiscal crisis the
State has ever faced. He played an active role in preparing analysis and
sharing his expertise relating to community housing programs, all to
support program restructuring efforts as well as the contract consolidation
project to provide additional flexibility for housing providers. In
addition, Frank took the lead role in preparing analysis – above and beyond
the call of duty – to assist policy makers in evaluating the status for the
2009-2010 Executive Budget. Some may not know this, but Frank actually
worked with developmentally disabled adults starting at age 17 and he
worked in a community residence before he became a Budget Analyst at OMH.
He knows how the money affects the programs. He lived it. Frank is also
unique in that he understands the policy issues and legal frameworks around
housing programs, but also appreciates the political sensitivities related
to the programs in any given year. Whenever he can, he will advocate for
furniture and vehicle money, or renovation and rehabilitation money for
individual buildings or for an expansion of the property pass through. He
knows how much these things can affect the quality of the programming that
agencies can provide. In addition to his work at the NYS-OMH, Frank is an
accomplished Irish and Folk music performer who has been singing and
playing guitar around the Capital Region for many, many years. But he is
not just any performer. He often organizes benefit performances for worthy
charities or to help people in situational need. He has been producing CDs
with the proceeds going to various charities, e.g. a family burned out of
their home, the food pantry, the Rick T. Foundation, or an animal shelter
victimized by a burglary. He has just released his 13th CD – all of the
proceeds will go to the Alpha Pregnancy Care Center in the Arbor Hill
neighborhood of Albany. Please join us as we recognize Frank for all of his
fine work with charities and at OMH, which helps ensure that community
based mental health housing remains a viable, quality resource for people
with serious psychiatric illnesses”.
May Frank rest in peace. We will never forget him.

Toni Lasicki
Executive Director

Association for Community Living/ACLAIMH
28Corporate Drive, Suite 102
Clifton Park, NY 12065

toni@aclnys.org

www.aclnys.org

T (518) 688-1682 Ext. 225
F (518) 688-1686

 

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