A nonprofit organization has the green light to move into a Douglaston building and create a group home for adults with developmental disabilities.
Community Board 11 members voted overwhelmingly on Dec. 4 in favor of Services for the UnderServed‘s (SUS) request to transform a structure at 244-04 Northern Blvd. into a residence for eight developmentally disabled adults. The Douglaston building is on the grounds of St. Anastasia Church, which previously used it as an annex.
The adults that will move into the group home, who are in their 40s to 50s, currently reside in another area of Queens, according to Doris Figueroa, senior vice president of developmental disabilities services at SUS.
The organization will spend $450,000 to renovate the space, Figueroa said. The first floor will consist of a living room, dining room, kitchen, two ADA-compliant bathrooms, four single bedrooms, medication room and laundry room. On the second floor, there will be four single bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a medication room, laundry room, sitting area, office space and recreational area with a balcony.
The residents, four females and four males, will be provided with 24-hour supervision, Figueroa noted. Each resident will have personal staff assigned to them, and will receive day and community rehabilitation services according to their individual needs. The organization and the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will conduct regular, routine inspections.
According to Group Homes/Community Facilities Committee co-chairman Stephen Pivawer, the organization has a 20-year lease with St. Anastasia and will pay the church $3,600 a month for the space. He added that the area does not have a large number of similar facilities in the area. The committee had voted unanimously in favor of the request.
However, Pivawer expressed his displeasure that a more senior-level member of the organization was not present for Monday’s board meeting. During a previous committee meeting, Pivawer and other members asked that one be present for the full board meeting.
Pivawer also asked for more information on the organization’s financials, particularly regarding staff salary. Figueroa referred the board to the state’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, which monitors its operations.
“I want the monies going to the residents — that’s my concern,” Pivawer said. “We’re the taxpayers, and basically 99 percent of the money is coming from the state.”
“The state is going to be monitoring [the Douglaston project],” he added.
SUS’s mission is find solutions to “transform the lives of people with disabilities, people in poverty and people facing homelessness” while “righting societal imbalances.” Learn more on their website.