Court Says ‘No’ to Housing for Mentally Ill


A New York court has just reversed a legal order requiring that the state provide individualized housing for thousands of mentally ill people.

The Associated Press indicates that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan’s move could impact other states’ court decisions on psychiatric illness.

The plaintiff — Albany-based Disability Advocates Inc.– has an agreement with the state to provide services to New York’s Protection and Advocacy System, according to the AP.

The group filed a lawsuit demanding residences in 2003. Citing inadequate facilities and lackluster standards of care at group homes, the Advocates want to move New York’s mentally ill out of big, group residences and into their own apartments and small homes. In 2010, a Brooklyn judge agreed that the state must make “1,500 housing units” in the City within a three-year period.

But the Court decided today that Disability Advocates “lacks the standing” to take action against the state. In other words — the judge doesn’t think that the non-profit can represent mentally disabled people as a group. The non-profit can rep individual mentally ill people, but not the entire “class,” the ruling said.

In the 1960s and 1970s, most of New York’s mentally ill were transferred from state-run psychiatric hospitals and to community or profit-making adult homes, the AP notes.

New York has 380 such establishments. There are 44 in the City.

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