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Queens Chronicle

CB 13 says no to home for disabled

Six men would live in Hollis house operated by Human First nonprofit

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:37 am, Wed Nov 27, 2013.

During a nearly three-hour Community Board 13 meeting held Monday night at Deliverance Baptist Church on Linden Boulevard in Cambria Heights, several issues were presented, including a proposal to establish a community residential facility in Queens Village for six adult males with developmental disabilities.

The plan was voted down unanimously, with one abstention.

Representatives of Human First, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001, indicated their intention to open the facility at 217-25 106 Ave. in Hollis

In a letter addressed to Bryan Block, chairman of CB 13, and dated Oct. 23, Human First indicated that “the immediate neighborhood surrounding the site has been checked with reference to the presence of existing residential programs ... Residential programs are currently being developed throughout New York so that individuals with developmental disabilities may reside in local residential communities. The goal of our agency ... is to provide quality residential and habilitative services that allow the opportunity for normal life-enriching experiences.”

But the board saw it differently. Among the members’ concerns was the funding stream for the organization, as they questioned whether it will rise in the future along with rising costs, thus enabling the group to maintain its staff and services adequately.

Cynthia Curtain, president of the Wayanda Civic Association of Queens Village, said of the proposed residential program, “We have enough in our community. Put a hold on it. We want to share the wealth” with other neighborhoods.

She indicated that there are already three other similar facilities surrounding the new proposed home.

Voting as “a committee as a whole” because it lacked a quorum, the board turned thumbs down on the proposal.

Obamacare addressed

Much in the news for years, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was given due attention during the meeting courtesy of a PowerPoint presentation by Julius Wool, the executive director of Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica.

Wool pointed out that 18 percent of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product is spent on health, placing the United States well ahead of all other countries. Similarly, he indicated that the U.S. has the highest average spending on health per capita.

“Our healthcare system is failing,” Wool said, owing to overspending and “not getting quality for what we’re spending.”

He noted that the ACA, which President Obama signed into law in March of 2010 and is commonly referred to as Obamacare, runs no fewer than 2,000 pages in length.

Its three major goals, Wool said, are to expand insurance coverage and access to health care for individuals who are uninsured and insured; reduce growth in healthcare costs; and improve the quality of healthcare.

Wool recommended the Kaiser Family Foundation website at kff.org for further information.

A pair of farewells

Two personal farewells brought a sentimental touch to the agenda. Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who was term-limited out after 12 years, stopped by to wish his constituents well, promising “I’ll still be part of the community.” Comrie encouraged those on hand to turn the area’s large voter turnout in the recent primaries and general election into “real political action.”

And James Gulston Sr., after serving as a member of the board for a quarter of a century, read a heartfelt letter of resignation, citing a schedule that no longer allows him to give the position his all. His role as a representative for Springfield Gardens will be filled by new board member Fay Hill.

Welcome to the discussion.