It is a shame what is going on with Tucson’s so called “unlicensed Group Homes”.
Some homes are much better than others, thanks to those who care.
Try to avoid the others who don’t care !
Here is the list of what we found wrong in the 2008-2010 timeframe:
1. Not clean, unsanitary conditions. Even dishes for eating are not clean. The patients are required
to clean up, which is usually not good enough, even when they try hard. They are mentally ill !
2. Not fed enough. Even though they say 3 meals a day, not true ! Patients buy their own food
to eat enough.
3. Rent is too high, usually $500-525 per month for room and board. The maximum income these patients have is $674 on Social security disability, many get even less to live on. No one advocates to get them their full amount, which is sometimes denied at the initial SSI process.
4. No hot water !
5. No toilet paper or napkins.
6. Coed homes, where improper behavior between patients happens, even though against the rules.
7. 24 hour supervision is promised, but doesn’t always happen. These patients can have a psychotic relapse, and so must be monitored, and safety must be maintained for all the patients at the group home in event of problems.
8. Patients are largely ignored, their needs are not met as human beings. No one checks on them
at least weekly, in order to make appointments for their medical and dental needs. No one asks
them if they need something, which they could get with their own money, eg. toiletries, deodorant, etc.
9. No published rules. Verbal rules are ignored. Safety is reduced.
10. Stealing is going on from mentally disabled, cigs, clothes, food, personals. Walmart sells lock boxes and a couple locks for around $20. It’s worth it.
11. Paroled drug offenders (street people) are being housed with the mentally ill patients, and are taking advantage of them, “borrowing money” and other stealing.
12. Alcoholic beverages sometimes are given to the mentally ill.
13. Good living skills are not taught. Bad living skills are not always dealt with.
14. The mentally challenged are being made fun of.
15. The patients are threatened, in order to get money, meds, clothing, and personal items. Or they are just taken from them in a confrontational bullying style.
16. Sheets, pillows, and blankets were not available for the beds, only bed covers.
17. No rides provided. No assistance to get a ride provided.
18. Some doctors and nurses don’t know enough about mentally disabled patients, so they are of minimal or no help for these patients who have trouble communicating. No one helps them to write down their needs, or be there for support, to get the help needed. Group home supervision is completely absent for these needs, or to even call someone for assistance.
When a patient relapses into psychosis (DANGER), some group homes take no action to call SAMHC at 520-622-6000 for help to get the patient into emergency free treatment.
19. CPSA group home grievance procedures are a joke, although they will write warning letters to the homes. Copies of notes of verbal reports were not provided. Sexual abuse report ignored. Police reports of hospital abuse were ignored. All these were ignored by the CEO.
20. Safety of patients not handled well by case management, with some exceptions. So don’t count on them to help with group home conditions.
21. Bed bugs !
Finally, these mentally disabled patients could use a Buddy, you ! Contact Tucson NAMI at 520-622-5582 to join their buddy program to check on these people, at least once per week for a phone call, and maybe a monthly in-person visit.
The mentally disabled need your help ! The above conditions are happening to them now. It’s discouraging to their spirits, and reduces effectiveness of treatment. The impact to society comes when they just give up, and stop taking their meds, and become a danger to self or others. Then they become at risk for going to prison. Our prisons have many mentally ill brothers and sisters there who may not have been dangerous if only they stayed on their meds (medicines). Please, let’s care more for each other, we need it !