New York Ends Decade-Long Battle over Housing Mentally Ill

The administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo agreed on Tuesday to give 4,000 mentally ill people who have been kept in institutional homes in New York City the opportunity to move into their own subsidized apartments, settling a contentious legal battle over the care for such patients that dragged on for a decade.
July 24, 2013
 

The administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo agreed on Tuesday to give 4,000 mentally ill people who have been kept in institutional homes in New York City the opportunity to move into their own subsidized apartments, settling a contentious legal battle over the care for such patients that dragged on for a decade.

Under the consent decree, which would fundamentally reshape the way long-term mental health care is delivered in the city, the state is required to present all but the most severely mentally ill residents with plans for moving into their own apartments, where they would continue to receive specialized treatment and services under an arrangement known as supported housing.

The decision to move out of the institutional settings known as adult homes and into the new housing would be left to the residents, but the agreement assumes that many will want to move. The state must set up a minimum of 2,000 supported housing units and establish more if there is additional demand.

Three years ago, a judge ruled  that the state was illegally warehousing the residents and ordered officials to move them to supported housing. But an appellate court struck down that decision, ruling on procedural grounds that Disability Advocates, the nonprofit organization that brought the lawsuit, never had legal standing to sue.

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