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Assisted living owner turns off the air conditioning

July 31, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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A June 22 New York Post article reported that the owner of an assisted living facility in Brooklyn turned off the building’s air conditioning system. Because he wanted to sell the building, many residents have moved elsewhere. The remaining residents, however, wish to stay there and have taken their case to court.

The judge ruled residents have the right to facility services (including air-conditioning) while living there. But the present owner wants to raise their rent and says it is expensive to air condition the rooms of eight residents.

Prospect Park had 150 residents in March 2014, when the New York Times published an article about the residents challenging the plan to evict them by the department of health. Since then, their local councilman has taken up their cause as well as the state attorney general's office.

After receiving a notice more than a year ago that the facility was closing, most residents found other accommodations and moved out. Those who remain say services have declined since there are fewer residents. The facility is not as clean as before and the building is falling into disrepair.

The owner's attorney says he [the owner] followed the closure plan to the letter. Others say the facility was still marketed after the closure plan was in place. New residents actually came in thinking they could age where they were and then learned we would have to move.

The owner's lawyer also says New York State laws do not require that nursing homes have air-conditioning. The facility just has to keep the rooms at a comfortable temperature. But he has not defined "comfortable temperature."

I realize this owner is a businessman. But surely there must have been a better way to arrange other housing for these residents and provide them with support services to make the transition.

I can imagine how I would feel if my mother lived in such a facility and had no family nearby to support her during a move. This is an assisted living facility and the residents are paying the fees they agreed to.

I am surprised the story was not spread more widely when the New York Post article was first published.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...