CENTEREACH, Long Island (WABC) -- Family members of three men with autism who have resided for years at a state-run home on Long Island are worried the home may be closed after they received a letter stating as such.
"You cannot tell somebody to just leave their home that they've been in for 20 years," Dyan Sybalski said.
Sybalski's mother, Marilyn Sybalski, had the group home built for her son, Paul.
"She did this so Paul would not have to go into an institution," Dyan Sybalski said. "She fought tooth and nail to have this built."
In July, family members received a letter from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) informing them that "this location is unable to recruit and maintain staff and presently relies on high overtime to ensure appropriate health and safety of the individuals. The agency recognizes that we must provide a more sustainable solution and therefore offer the individuals residential opportunities suitable to meet their needs at other available locations."
Linda Gordon, whose cousin, 29-year-old Cory Albin, resides in the home, said she hasn't been able to sleep well since getting the letter.
"I don't know where they think they might put him," she said. "If he went somewhere else, at another house, it's not going to adapt to his needs."
Anna Jutis said it took years to find an appropriate home for her son Constantine, and that he has made incredible progress in his development since living at the home in Centereach.
"If we went through all this and he goes back to the same, it will be waste," she said.
He has lived there for 20 years and was the first resident of the home.
"A lot of time and effort was made to build a home for him so he doesn't continue getting transferred from group home to group home," sad Peter Jutis, Constantine Jutis' brother.
In a statement to Eyewitness News, a spokesperson for OPWDD said they have no immediate plans to relocate the residents.
"OPWDD is reviewing our options for providing the individuals living at this location with the appropriate care that meets their individual needs," spokesperson Denise DeCarlo said.
DeCarlo said the state has terminated the lease agreement with the landlord and is operating on a month-to-month basis.
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