Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ferncliff responds to anti developmentally disabled article in journal news

Explore now...
Re “Razing WestHELP would waste taxpayers’ money,” Thursday Community View:
Bob Bernstein repeats the false claim that Ferncliff would destroy vacant housing worth up to $20 million. Only an appraisal can determine the value and to my knowledge there has not been one. Ferncliff plans to re-use the main building as a school, along with the roads, utilities and other infrastructure. Therefore much of the value will remain intact. The original complex was financed by a $12.45 million Housing Finance Agency bond in 1990. So that was the cost to the taxpayer.
He also states there are nearly 50 schools in the Hudson Valley region that are like Ferncliff. In truth, there is only one, and it is Ferncliff. Our school provides housing and education for young people classified by the state as “hard to place” due to their severe developmental and physical disabilities.
No other school in the Hudson Valley accepts these youngsters. In fact, many such children from our area are housed in facilities out of state due to the shortage of appropriate places anywhere in New York, let alone the Hudson Valley.
If we close, our children will be sent to facilities far from their families.
And why must we move? Because our children live in a building that is more than 100 years old and attend school in trailers!
Mr. Bernstein makes much of the original agreement stating that WestHELP should be used for senior citizens or municipal workers. It is unfortunate that children with developmental disabilities that come from families of limited means were not included in that agreement more than 20 years ago. But surely Mr. Bernstein can understand it is time to consider rectifying this omission.
Patricia Saich
The writer is assistant executive director, Ferncliff Manor, Yonkers.