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Senator Lea Webb Visits West End Heights, Ithaca

Monday, August 21, 2023

Discussed Funding and Staffing Challenges

Lakeview Health Services was honored to receive a visit from New York State Senator Lea Webb, (D, WF) 52nd Senate District, at Lakeview’s newest mixed-use apartment building, West End Heights, located at 701 W. Court Street, Ithaca. The visit was organized and sponsored by the Association of Community Living (ACL). Lakeview’s CEO Harry Merryman and CPO Cathy Lovejoy hosted the Senator and were joined by Liz Smith, CEO of Unity House of Cayuga County and Doug Cooper, Associate Executive Director with ACL.

The Senator was introduced to the various housing services and programs that the two agencies provide in Tompkins County. They discussed some of the challenges faced including the fact that funding for the programs has not kept pace with inflation and subsequently have been underfunded for years. Staffing shortages are due in part to this lack of funding and has created the inability to provide adequate compensation to current staff. Service and support to many older adults who are "aging in place", whose physical health challenges - coupled with their mental health challenges do not fit the current service models and will require funding for additional care as this population grows. Lastly, there is a concern in the area of mental health housing around balancing priorities between providing capital for the creation of much needed new units and providing the necessary support staff to service the units already occupied.

“It was an honor to join the Association for Community Living, mental health providers, and representatives from Lakeview for a tour of West End Heights,” said Senator Lea Webb. “We had a productive conversation about the funding and staffing challenges facing providers in the district and some of the work I am doing as a member of the Senate’s Mental Health and Health Committees to support their efforts. It is so important that community members have access to safe and affordable housing, especially as individuals recover from trauma and manage mental health issues.”

At the conclusion of their discussion, the Senator was provided with a brief tour of the award-winning West End Heights building.

Unity House of Cayuga County, Inc. provides transitional and permanent housing, respite care, and rehabilitative and employment services for individuals with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and/or substance use disorders from which they are recovering throughout seven Central New York counties.
ACLNYS is a membership organization comprised of Not-for-Profit Agencies in NYS who provide housing and support services to people with serious and persistent psychiatric disabilities.