Drop off center on residential block to be shut down

1023 Clarence Avenue.
Community News Group / Steven Goodstein

A residence used as a drop off center for mentally ill patients will soon close.

A two-story home located at 1023 Clarence Avenue, which is owned by former Bronx Psychiatric Center Family Care providers and has housed mentally ill patients for the last few months, will be officially shuttered, after neighbors on the block complained.

According to many of the block’s residents, 1023 Clarence Avenue started housing three individuals who suffered from mental illness around the beginning of spring.

The neighbors began to notice these individuals wandering the streets at various times of the day and even late at night.

In one incident, one of the patients was seen urinating on the side of the house. In a separate occurance, another patient was spotted walking to a corner store on Layton Avenue in his underwear.

There were also reports of a patient walking in circles in the middle of the street while he smokes a cigarette. In addition, ambulettes and other medical vehicles have been dropping the patients off late at night, which also caused a disruptive situation.

“No one in the neighborhood was informed that mentally ill patients would be living here,” said one resident who has lived on Clarence Avenue for the last five years. “They have been a disturbance to this quiet neighborhood to say the least – and it’s not fair to the community.”

“These patients have not been very well supervised, considering the kind of behavior they have exhibited since they’ve lived here,” said Bruce Weinstein, another Clarence Avenue resident. “I empathize with them and their situation, but on a block where children live in almost every house, the owners really need to keep an eye on these patients, especially when they are outdoors.”

“I haven’t seen anything like this in all the years I have lived on this block,” said another resident who has lived on Clarence Avenue for nearly 25 years. “It’s pretty alarming, considering the fact that most residents on this block have families and children. I just hope there’s never a situation where a child is walking alone and meets face-to-face in the street with one of these patients.”

When Community Board 10 learned of these incidents they asked that the program cease operation.

According to a spokesperson from the public information office of the NYS Office of Mental Health, the property owners of 1023 Clarence Avenue have voluntarily ended their involvement with the Bronx Psychiatric Center Family Care program.

All three patients at the location have been assigned housing with other Family Care providers.

According to Community Board 10, the drop off center is expected to close sometime within the next two or three weeks.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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