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CB 17 Throws Support Behind Special Rockaway Pkwy Residence

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Welcome to the neighborhood. At its January meeting, which was held at Meyer Levin Intermediate School, I.S. 285, 5909 Beverley Road, Community Board 17 gave the go-ahead for the establishment of an individualized residential alternative apartment for two developmentally disabled adult males at 165 Rockaway Parkway. The board’s approval followed a presentation by Services for the UnderServed (SUS), the agency applying for the home, which is being established under the auspices of the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD). No area residents spoke out at the meeting, either in favor of or in opposition to the proposal. According to Cheryelle Cruickshank, director of developmental disabilities services for the agency, there would be two staff members in attendance 24 hours a day to assist, “The men in learning to do daily activities,” she said, including cooking and cleaning. The residents, Cruickshank said, would either go to school or work during the day, using available public transportation. SUS’s goal, she said, was to make its clients, “As independent as possible. The staff is there,” Cruickshank went on, “to teach them skills in daily living.” The agency, she added, would do ongoing evaluations of the residents. Board member Wellington Sharpe wanted to know how the move to the apartment would improve the two men’s quality of life. “Currently, where they are living, the conditions of the building are not good,” explained Cruickshank. “That’s the main reason they are moving out. The building is not maintained at all. The building they are moving into is clean and well-kept.” One board member suggested that the site was not a suitable location for such a facility. Albert Payne, noting that there was no bus nearby, and that access to the subway was across Kings Highway, said, “What you’re offering, I don’t think is an appropriate location for people who need 24-hour supervision.” “That’s why the staff is there,” rejoined Cruickshank. CB 17 had the opportunity to review the siting of the home, as a result of New York State’s Site Selection Law, otherwise known as the Padavan Law, which delineates a process of public notification and public hearings, and a time frame in which these take place. IRAs are different from group homes in that they house fewer people, allowing a greater degree of individualized attention for the residents.

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