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Letter to the Editor: Homelessness Of The Mentally Ill Has Exploded On Astorino’s Watch

I am so angry and upset, because the elderly psychotic and delusional woman who I have repeatedly talked to you about has ended up at the Valhalla shelter and is not doing to well, despite my best efforts over the last four months to get her the help that she is entitled to and needs.

She was supposed to have DSS temporarily pay $600 a month to her landlord until she gets her SSI in a month or so, but the White Plains DSS office messed this up.

Worse yet, the Volunteers of America intake workers say this elderly psychotic and delusional woman should not have been refereed to them but should have been refereed to the open housing units in the counties shelter plus program for psychotic and delusional people who are homeless..

I need your assistance to get this elderly psychotic and delusional woman the help she is entitled to at the White Plains DSS office or the district office. Otherwise, I don’t know where else to go except to the media and the people of Westchester county.

As you know, I complained to you, that this elderly psychotic and delusional woman was wrongly denied Medicaid and did not get access to a psychiatrist or receive psychiatric medications for months on end after nearly 50 phone calls and emails Mr. Kelly was able to get someone to provide her with the Medicaid she was entitled to, based solely on the documents in her file.

I also complained to you that this that this elderly psychotic and delusional woman was wrongly denied food stamps and again after scores of phone calls able to get someone to provide her with the food stamps she was entitled to, based solely on the documents in her file.

In both instances she suffered needlessly and did not get the benefits she was entitled to, because of bureaucratic inaction.

I further complained to you that this that this elderly psychotic and delusional woman was wrongly denied temporary emergency rental assistance for months on end and again after scores of phone calls able to get someone to provide her with the approval for payment so that she would not go homeless while waiting on her SSI payments to start.

But the payment never went to the landlord, in July the landlord provided a W-9, a DSS rental verification form, his identification and proof of his ownership of the property, but nothing was done.

On August 25th the landlord once again provided a W-9, a DSS rental verification form, his identification and proof of his ownership of the property, but nothing was done.

After a meeting with Mr. Catilano, Adult Protective Services and the elderly psychotic and delusional woman’s case manage at Choice, the landlord was once again asked to provide a W-9, a DSS rental verification form, his identification and proof of his ownership of the property, but nothing was done.

Again last week as he was evicting the elderly psychotic and delusional woman the DSS case manager Ms. Cordaro asked him to once again provide a W-9, a DSS rental verification form, his identification and proof of his ownership of the property. The landlord asked the case manager, what has she been doing with all of the personal information she had been provided. She said she could not answer that question.

However, the landlord was once again asked to provide a W-9, a DSS rental verification form, his identification and proof of his ownership of the property, but nothing was done.

After this elderly psychotic and delusional woman was put in the street and came to DSS seeking shelter, Mr. Catilano and DSS supervisor Ms. Harrison started calling the landlord telling him that his checks would be sent out that day.

The people in the county’s adult protective service’s office were shocked that DSS had not taken care of this as promised in Mr. Catilano’s meeting.

The next day he received to checks covering two months at about $600 each and the night before the elderly psychotic and delusional woman was sent to the Volunteers of America shelter at a cost of thousands a month.

The landlord who has multiple affordable and clean apartments with wi-fi and free laundry machines says that he will never deal with DSS again, because of all of the trouble he was put through.

At the volunteers of America shelter, the elderly psychotic and delusional woman has had a lot of difficulty, because DSS still has not corrected the typo where they misspelled her name on her case file.
Over and over DSS has promised to correct this, but they have not. It makes it hard for the Volunteers of America to service this elderly psychotic and delusional woman when her ID doesn’t match her case file name.

The Volunteers of America case worker says that the elderly psychotic and delusional woman should not have been sent to their shelter, because they can not give her the services that she desperately needs and feels that she may deteriorate in these shelter conditions.

They say she should have been sent to some program called shelter plus that has SPOA units currently available for homeless mentally ill cases, because she is SPOA qualified. But she says DSS must make and should have made that referral to the Westchester County Community Mental Health Department.

The Volunteers of America intake workers says to contact her DSS case worker Ms. Cordario, because there are units currently available for this elderly psychotic and delusional woman. But this case worker has never returned or accepted a call from this elderly psychotic and delusional woman .

When you call the district offices, Mr. Kenner has never returned scores of calls about the problem, Brian Furlough says straight up that he doesn’t know how to get the DSS workers to process the paper work or make referrals,

John Kelly never returns phone calls and sometimes has a Mr. Brown call, but Mr. Brown is difficult and argumentative at best.

I don’t know what to do, except to tell the elderly psychotic and delusional woman to start sleeping on the sidewalk in front of the County executives office, in order to get this DSS referral to the Westchester County Department Of Community Mental Health’s shelter plus program so that she can get the help, services and shelter she needs.

The courts in New York have ruled that it is legal for the homeless to sleep on the sidewalks, as long as pedestrian traffic is not impeded,

Can you please use your appointment and good offices to help this elderly psychotic and delusional woman get the referrals and services that she is entitled to.

The Volunteers of America intake workers say that this elderly psychotic and delusional woman will not do well at Valhalla and that there are appropriate openings in the mental health shelter plus program.

Please help this elderly psychotic and delusional woman, because I don’t know where else to go but to the press and people of Westchester.

Sincerely,

Brian Harrod

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About Damon K. Jones (226 Articles)
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Mr. Jones is a Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet, and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Mr. Jones is a 31 year Law Enforcement Practioner, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.
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