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Queens Chronicle

Welcome the group home

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

At a recent meeting of the Lindenwood Alliance, representatives from Birch Family Services spoke about the proposed group home for autistic and developmentally disabled young adults in Lindenwood. Denis Rosenberg, Deputy Director of Birch Family Services, spoke with our group and outlined the plan for the home and its residents. Mr. Rosenberg was extremely transparent, and reassuring, when answering the many valid questions asked by our attendees.

The home, located at 137-31 80 St., will be operated by Birch Family Services and house six young men with autism or other developmental disabilities. The residents will all be around 21 years old.

In addition to attending the Lindenwood Alliance, the senior management of Birch Family Services, including Nigel Cole, another of Birch Family Service’s deputy directors, was in attendance at a meeting of Community Board 10 in an effort to answer questions regarding the proposed site, its employees and its residents.

As reported in the Queens Chronicle (“CB 10 OKs group home in Lindenwood,” May 9, South Queens edition), Mr. Lester Kaufman, the organization’s executive vice president, said, “We want them to lead as normal a life as possible.” Mr. Kaufman also noted in the Chronicle that, “The men inside the home would use local stores and facilities under the supervision of Birch’s on-site staff. “We want them to participate in the community and have a normal community life.”

Some of the information they shared is as follows: The home is a two-family residence that will be kept as is. Three of the residents will live on the first floor and three on the second.

Two staff members will be present during the day and two during the overnight shift, while there will also be two “floating” workers in the morning and at night when the residents are home.

During the majority of the day, the residents will be taking classes at an off-site school which they will be transported to. There will not be any large buses on the block. Smaller vehicles will be used to transport the residents.

It was further reported in the Queens Chronicle that after the unanimous vote, CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said, “The board has not had any serious problems with any of the group homes in the neighborhoods the community board serves. “

As your neighbor, as well as a civic and community activist, I ask that you welcome these residents. We have the commitment of the Birch Family Services Organization that they will remain good neighbors and we will hold them to that promise.

If you have any questions or concerns, I can be contacted via e-mail at lindenwood alliance@gmail.com.

JoAnn Ariola
Chairwoman, Lindenwood Alliance

Welcome to the discussion.