Mental Health Commissioner to meet over Lyvere Street

The Office of Mental Health has agreed to meet with Community Board 10 to address concerns over the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health’s already approved plans to construct a six-story, 56-unit residence at 2432-36 Lyvere Street. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Although residents lost their fight to keep the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health off of Lyvere Street, Office of Mental Health commissioner Michael Hogan has finally agreed to meet with Community Board 10 to address its concerns. 

As announced by Senator Jeff Klein at Doyle’s Pub on Saturday, May 24, during a jointly sponsored meeting of local organizations, Hogan’s letter to CB 10 chairwoman Virginia Gallagher promised to meet after previous correspondence was deemed dismissive and unsatisfactory. 

“I am sorry if you felt our letter was perfunctory,” said Hogan. “We can certainly set up a meeting between OHM executive, field office, and housing staff and the community board.”

Klein was pleased with the quick response. “Government agencies need to take seriously the real life impact of their decisions on the community,” said Klein

Despite pleas from a community oversaturated with social service programs, the six-story 56-unit building at 2432-36 Lyvere Street, won approval from OHM last November. 

CB 10 sent a letter to then-Governor Eliot Sptizer in hopes of overturning the decision, but received startling news when Robert Meyers, Ph.D., senior deputy commissioner for the Division of Adult Services, stated the project would “increase affordable housing options for homeless New Yorkers, and for people at risk for being homeless.”

Meyers further stated that “People who have been hospitalized or lived in shelters have been isolated and estranged from the mainstream community, and need quality, stable housing, which is located in communities.”

Never being told that formerly homeless residents would be coming into the community, Gallagher sent another letter to current Governor David Patterson to request a meeting. 

The reply, which discussed compliance with zoning issues and the incorporation of energy efficient and sustainable design elements into the project, Gallagher felt, was unsatisfactory.   

“We raised serious issues in our letter and we do not feel that they have been addressed,” said Gallagher.  “To suggest that a population with special needs would not place a demand upon the already limited police, fire and medical emergency systems is indicative of OHM’s misunderstanding of our board’s service needs.”

CB 10 is currently pleased that Hogan has extended an olive branch to the board. “We’re pleased that OHM has reached out to us to engage in a conversation concerning the proposed facility at Lyvere Street,” said district manager Kenneth Kearns. 

The groups present at the meeting were Klein’s committee for Community Growth and Development, the Westchester Square-Zerega Improvement Organization and the Merchants and Professionals of Westchester Square.

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