Next steps in the fight for seniors at Prospect Park Residence: a lawsuit, and letters to the governor

Next steps in the fight for seniors at Prospect Park Residence: a lawsuit, and letters to the governor

We’re standing up for our elderly neighbors today – and I hope you’ll join us in speaking up for them again.

As you know, 120 seniors are facing a cruel and heartless eviction from their home at the Prospect Park Residence, with just 90 days notice of closure. They are a strong and courageous group – including a Holocaust survivor, a Tuskegee airman, and many individuals over 100. I have been inspired by their lives, their fortitude, and the hard work of both residents and families as they fight to stay in their homes (or struggle with the challenges of finding new ones). There are videos of several of them, including one of Jeffrey Chase, a real leader in the effort, who sadly passed away last Thursday.       

I have also been inspired by the outpouring of community support. My office has helped to organize multiple rallies to call attention to the plight of the residents and over 5,000 of you signed a petition to the owner, calling on him to reverse his heartless decision.

Today, I am very pleased to report a new development in the fight. The Legal Aid Society has filed a lawsuit against Haysha Deitsch (the landlord), and the New York State Department of Health (which accepted his proposal to close the facility). The suit hopes to prevent – or at least delay – the closure of the residence, and allow these seniors to remain in their homes. The lawsuit also seeks to compel the NYS Department of Health and the owner to live up to their legal obligation to maintain vital services at the site. For more details, read here in the New York Times or view the Legal Aid Society’s press release. Thanks to Legal Aid and the rest of the legal team from MFY Legal Services, Inc., and the law firm of Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, for bringing this pro-bono lawsuit.

Senator Chuck Schumer has spoken up in support of the residents struggle (view his letter here). He has asked that the NYS Department of Health reconsider the closure, and at a minimum ensure that all services provided at the site continue as long as a single resident remains in the building.

You can help too: Please write Governor Cuomo today to ask him to intervene on the residents’ behalf.    

Click here to visit Governor’s Cuomo’s online contact page (or write him at The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY, 12224). Text of sample letter is below. 

For those residents who have chosen to leave, we will continue working to help them find other suitable places to live (and focus more on meeting the urgent needs of our fast-growing elderly population for affordable housing and good quality-of-life in the city as a whole).

For those who are fighting their eviction, we will pursue every possible avenue, from public pressure to the legal strategy being advanced today.

Please stand up for them, by writing to Governor Cuomo today.




Sample letter text:  

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Please support our 120 elderly neighbors facing a cruel eviction from the Prospect Park Residence, with just 90 days notice of closure from the NYS Department of Health.

I am asking you to direct the DOH to put a moratorium on evictions, reconsider this heartless decision, and ensure that they live up to their mandate to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers.

This closure is causing great trauma for residents and their families. The physical and emotional stress of this unforeseen change at this stage in their lives has had dire consequences for our most frail and vulnerable neighbors. New York City has too few options for older people who can no longer live on their own.

I would not want this for my parents, and you would not want it for yours.

Please direct the Department of Health to put a moratorium on the evictions, reconsider the closure, and ensure that services are provided.