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New Housing Venture in Suffolk County

Federation of Organizations was awarded the contract to operate the Transition to Community Residence (TCR) Program in Suffolk County, an innovative program that recognizes the need to address the complex medical conditions of individuals who have been living in state operated settings and moving into supported housing. Funded by the NYS OMH the Transition to Community Residence (TCR) Program will assist seventy-five people with mental illness and chronic medical conditions now living in a state-operated Residential Care Center for Adults (RCCA) and people who are being released from Pilgrim Psychiatric Center to transition to community living with the specialized supports the program will provide.

Founded by family advocates in 1972, Federation has been serving people with serious mental illness and complex needs since 1981and is a pioneer in employing peers to deliver mental health services. Federation operates over 380 residential units including CR/SRO’s, community residences, apartment treatment and supported housing. In addition, Federation provides case management, clinic treatment, Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS), Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), peer outreach, advocacy and linkage to services, employment, affirmative business experience, and education to individuals with serious mental illness living in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn.

The RCCA on the grounds of Kings Park will close this year as part of an OMH commitment to promoting community integration. Federation will open three 25-bed Transition to Community Residences (TCR’s) on the grounds of Pilgrim Psychiatric Center into which the last seventy-five residents of the RCCA will move on a temporary basis. (The other residents have already moved into the community.) Two of the residences will phase out in two years and will transition to 75 Supported Housing beds within the community. Two mobile residential support teams will be available to provide crisis intervention, rehabilitative and supportive services, linkage to community resources, networking and hospital diversion for TCR residents who have moved into the community and become a resource to all supported housing programs in Suffolk County. The TCR program will be available to assist people leaving Pilgrim Psychiatric Center also. The decision to continue operating the third 25-bed TCR unit will be made by OMH depending on the need.

People who have lived for years in institutional settings need hope and a vision for their future. Peers will be integral to this effort. Peers will work with residents to instill hope and share their own experience of the recovery process, assisting residents to actively explore educational, residential, vocational, social, religious and community groups, recreational activities, and all the opportunities the community has to offer. Many of the people now living in the RCCA have complex medical conditions and have not lived independently for many years. They need assistance in learning to manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, COPD, and seizure disorders. Staff will focus on working with residents to make their health a priority and to make the connection between good physical and mental health. During their stay in the TCR each person will learn skills, explore options and move into community settings with the resources they need to succeed. Staff will have medical and mental health expertise and include nurses, LPN’s, peers, rehabilitation associates and behavioral specialists to teach life skills and to stimulate residents to reimagine their future.

The Transition to Community Residence Program in Suffolk County provides enhanced resources to supported housing residents, many of whom are managing complex medical conditions. The TCR program is an effort to ensure the successful transition to community living for people who have been living in institutional settings and expand options for housing providers who are working hard to meet the complex and evolving needs of the people they serve.

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