Dear Editor: During Advent, a story of the Nativity reminds us of the plight of Mary and Joseph who were unable to find suitable lodgings in Bethlehem.
The Nativity story also reminds us that many seriously developmentally disabled residents of Brooklyn are unable to find suitable lodgings in our own diocese.
They face an uncertain future, as their home for many years at Brooklyn Developmental Center (BDC) will close at the end of December, 2015.
Since 1973, BDC was a place of last resort for those residents who have serious behavioral issues, (now labeled I/DD, intellectually developmentally disabled) which often require medical and direct care 24/7. This care cannot be replicated at the respective group homes that usually do not have full-time medical/nursing staff on their premises.
Should a serious emergency arise there, the only recourse is to call 911.
Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive, (the involved state agency, OPWDD, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities) policy will close all other major developmental centers across the state by 2017, except for 150 beds at two locations in upstate New York. Eventually the state’s transformation policy will transfer the care for the majority of I/DD population to the volunteer agencies who simply cannot match the resources provided by the state.
All residents already face enormous problems. Please pray for them!
Editor’s Note: The Brooklyn Developmental Center did in fact close its doors on Dec. 31.