A group of assisted living residents are suing in an effort to stop their Brooklyn community from shutting down in June, reports the New York Times.
Prospect Park Residence is scheduled for closure next month, but a lawsuit filed Friday against the community and the State Health Department is trying to stop that from happening. The building was told in a March 5 meeting of the planned closure, giving them 90 days to move.
“The residents say the department should not have approved the closing plan, which was announced unexpectedly in March, because it did not provide for the residents’ needs while they remained there and did not consider the lack of other housing options,” says the New York Times article. “The lawsuit also accuses the operator of already failing to comply with its own closing plan by cutting back on basic services and not helping people find new places to live.”
Seven residents filed the suit seeking to force the health department to revoke the closing plan and keep the residence open—at least for now.
“The plan is completely pro forma, and what the Department of Health did was basically rubber-stamp it,” Judith Goldiner, the attorney-in-charge of the civil law reform unit at the Legal Aid Society, told the Times.
The Legal Aid Society is representing the plaintiffs along with MFY Legal Services and law firm Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto.
Rather than meet the needs of each Prospect Park resident and helping them come up with an appropriate housing alternative, the owner of the community “just said: ‘You’ve got to get out. Just figure it out,'” according to Goldiner.
Residents have already begun moving out of Prospect Park in the past few weeks, although about 120 people had been living there, says the article.
“They and their families believe that the owner, Haysha Deitsch, plans to sell the building to a real-estate developer so that it can be converted into luxury apartments. Mr. Deitsch has not made his plans public,” says the Times, adding that the Health Department hadn’t responded to a request for comment.
However, a spokesperson for Deitsch told the Times named a “rising tax burden,” maintenance costs, and required upgrades that will cost more than $2 million are making the building “too expensive to operate,” prompting the sale.
“Despite concerns to the contrary, the closure plan and the transfer of residents to alternate living arrangements has been compliant and seamless,” Paul Larrabee, the spokesperson, said in the article. “Any claims of deception or fraud are without merit and we will vigorously defend our actions.”
Read the full article at the New York Times.
Written by Alyssa Gerace