In the Prospect Park area of Brooklyn, New York, residents at the Prospect Park Residence nursing home have reportedly had to endure uncomfortable conditions, all because of the allegedly skewed priorities of the nursing home’s owner. The owner simply will not turn on the air conditioning at the facility, which undoubtedly makes for a miserable environment during the middle of another hot summer, all because he wants to push the residents to move out by making the conditions so inhospitable. There are only seven residents left to sweat out the lack of air conditioning. Apparently if everyone moves out and there are no more residents, the owner will be able to sell the facility. There had been a tentative deal in place to sell the building for $76.5 million, but on the condition that all residents move out. The owner had plans to sell since April 2014. The facility once housed 130 residents before decreasing down to the present seven. The refusal of remaining residents to move (and the refusal of their families to have the moved) has led to the real estate deal falling through.
Unsanitary and Unlivable
Local reports noted that the state Department of Health previously cited the nursing home for not correcting fire safety violations over the course of two years. The owner also failed to renew the facility’s license as required, and it was further reported that there were other problems related to sanitation and food service, leaky ceilings and peeling paint, bed bugs, and a failure to ensure residents were following restricted diets. To add insult to injury, the owner has even raised rates charged to residents.
When the facility’s owner first tried to sell it in early 2014 and gave all of the 100+ residents three months to get out, a court ordered that he must keep it open for those who chose to remain (at the time nine, and now seven) while their lawsuit against the owner for closure of the facility was pending. On the heels of this, conditions became worse as described above. In April of this year, a state judge appointed a temporary receiver from the Department of Health (DOH) to run the facility instead of the owner, though DOH has received its share of criticisms related to services as well.
The plan seemed to be that services needed to be restored but that the residents would eventually be discharged under a new closure plan that ensures they are moved to places where they receive proper care for their needs. Notably, all seven remaining residents suffer from dementia. A major criticism has been that DOH agreed to a 90-day move-out, leaving the remaining residents little time to find a place fit for them under the closure plan.
Judge Orders Air Turned Back On
On June 22nd, a Brooklyn judge temporarily ordered the Park Slope Residence to turn on the central air conditioning in the residents’ rooms. The air was to be on at least until the next June 30th court date. Lawyers representing the residents in their lawsuit against the facility have noted that the floor housing the administrative office of the facility is nice and cool, whereas the hallways and common areas on the residential floor are inhospitably hot. During the June 30th hearing, lawyers and the judge will discuss services and conditions, the rent increase, as well as the eviction attempts.
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