SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Local elected leaders are now working to find a solution for multiple families whose loved ones are being displaced from a New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities run group home in Syracuse because of a severe staffing crisis.
“There’s staffing shortages everywhere and I understand what the pressures are but we want to do whatever we can to keep those keep those people close to their families,” State Senator Rachel May said.
One of residents being impacted is Christie Haney’s daughter Jessica who has developmental disabilities. Haney said the decision to put her now 29-year-old in a group home wasn’t easy but she knew it was the right choice.
“The transition in the beginning for Jessica was completely overwhelming, when she moved to the group home she had behavioral outbursts daily. She had lots of people that were there to care for her. The staff were wonderful and amazing, I appreciate them so much,” Christie Haney said.
The staff soon became Jessica’s world, but now that world is being turned upside down. Haney said she received a call from her daughter’s treatment team leader on October 4 telling her that her daughter would be one of a handful of residents who were being relocated to different group homes due to staffing shortages.
“It’s not about my inconvenience of driving an hour to see her, it’s about her being uprooted from her home, the staff she’s developed relationships with all her family and all her friends are here she’s lived in Onondaga County all her life,” Haney said.
Haney’s daughter was supposed to be moved to a group home in Clinton, NY on Monday, October 18 but the move has been postponed to November 1 due to a COVID outbreak in the new facility.
Haney is hoping a solution can be found to keep her daughter in her current group home as she believes the relocation would be detrimental to her daughter’s health.
“It is going to impact her health, her mental wellbeing and not only hers but the staff she’s being moved to. I’m afraid for her that she’s going to get hurt or they’re going to get hurt in the process of caring for her because she is going to be so overwhelmed,” Haney said.
NewsChannel 9 reached out the NYS OPWDD for confirmation and they said in a statement:
“OPWDD can’t comment on any specific person’s services. As with all human services fields nationwide, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on an already shrinking field of available direct support workers and nursing staff. At times we may make temporary adjustments to maintain appropriate staffing levels to ensure that the people we support continue to have access to quality services.”New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
NewsChannel 9 also reached out to Senator John Mannion’s office about the situation who responded in a statement saying:
“As Chair of the Disabilities Committee, I have opposed housing closures and bed reductions because I understand how disruptive they are for residents and families. The solutions are clear – fortify the hardworking and dedicated DSP workforce through better salaries and training by investing $500 million in new state resources. My office has been in contact with families impacted by this situation and I will continue to advocate on their behalf.”Senator John Mannion, (D-Geddes)