BRONX TIMES REPORTER, APR. 22-28, 2022 BXR
BY ALIYA SCHNEIDER
Community Board 11 has the chance to
allow for the placement of a group home already
rejected by the state, but its members
aren’t planning to.
Theresa Manuel, a social worker representing
the United Cerebral Palsy Associations
of New York State, Inc., doing business
as Constructive Partnerships Unlimited,
contacted CB11 on March 8, saying the organization
wants to relocate a group home to
2436 Kingsland Ave.
“We need the home for four young men,”
Manuel said in the letter. “They will have
24/7 staffing, including nurses and psychology
The residents would be transferred from
a state-run group home in the Bronx that is
closing, according to Manuel.
What the organization didn’t mention is
that the state Office for People with Developmental
Disabilities rejected the site because
the area is oversaturated with group homes,
according to Lisa Pesante, the fiscal director
for region 4 from the state agency.
An area is considered oversaturated
if there is another group home within .25
miles of the location, Pesante told the Bronx
Times. She could not comment on where the
nearby group home is.
Pesante instructed CB11 that the plan to
relocate the home could only become a reality
if the board approves it.
But at a Thursday, April 14 Community
Board 11 Leadership Committee meeting,
board members informed residents of the
state rejection and assured them the board
wasn’t in favor of the project.
Board member Sandra Unger said it
would be a “no brainer” to disallow the
“I don’t see why we would even discuss
this,” Unger said.
Yet Oral Selkridge, Board Sergeant at
Arms, said that even though it’s a “moot
point,” the board should hear from the public.
Members voiced their opposition to a
group home on the Kingsland Avenue residential
block, citing concerns about buses
blocking driveways and the targeted building
being inadequate in size and condition.
Resident Jonmichael De La Rosa, who
spoke at the meeting about his experiences
as a police officer, said that while he is “not
saying everyone with a disability has aggression
Residents voiced their opposition to a proposed group home (left) on their block, even after the community
board said it wouldn’t be happening. Photo Aliya Schneider
behavior,” he believes they do the
“majority of the time,” because “they’re aggravated
they can’t express themselves correctly,
or whatever the situation is.”
Jeremy Willinger, the chief communications
officer for Constructive Partnerships
Unlimited, said the organization started
with a focus on cerebral palsy but grew to
support people with various intellectual and
“In the proposed Bronx residence, as in
our other sites, the supported individuals
would consist of medically frail adults who
require either day or residential-based physical
therapy, education, and other services,”
he said in a statement to the Bronx Times.
“All are people we help lead fulfilling lives.”
De La Rosa also claimed that many people
with disabilities do not get arrested but
rather are sent to the hospital.
“Being a police officer, I know I dealt with
a lot of people that had disabilities and usually
when they commit crimes, they’re never
charged due to their disability,” he said at the
meeting. “So there is no way of us knowing
whether they have any behavior issues in
terms of aggression toward children, toward
other adults, so usually when we respond
to it, let’s say a person with a disability at a
group home injures someone else, they just
get sent to the hospital for evaluation, they
never actually get charged with a crime.”
Police told the Bronx Times De La Rosa
resigned from the NYPD in 2021. According
to city payroll data, De La Rosa worked in
the 56th Precinct and had worked for the department
The NYPD directed the Bronx Times
to the Law of Arrest patrol guide section,
which outlines instructions for arresting
people with various disabilities, but points
to the Prisoners Requiring Medical/Psychiatric
Treatment section for an “emotionally
disturbed prisoner, who has attempted suicide,
is extremely violent, or exhibits other
irrational behavior.” While that section instructs
arrestees to get medical attention, it
still references the individuals as people being
After community members expressed
concern about being in the loop regarding
proposals for their neighborhood, Selkridge
emphasized that the community board fights
for district residents, pointing to a recent
men’s homeless shelter proposal that the city
rescinded plans for in the district.
Board member Bernadette Ferrara
pointed out that there are still two other proposed
shelters “that we have to work on.”
“We’ll fight that also then,” Selkridge said.
The community district currently has no
group home a no-go
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