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“Trilogy House reorganization will result in furloughs, displaced residents”

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This article found on the Daily American website dated September 26, 2012 talks about changes occurring at Trilogy House as a result of cuts to mental health services.

MHA in PA email release on PNA Raise

In a Wednesday, February 18, 2009 email sent out by the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHA PA) they are asking folks to send their appreciation for making the PNA  raise a reality.  The information below indicates that it did NOT cost the state anything extra to impliment this raise, so it is a win win kind of thing.

Pennsylvania residents of personal care homes living on SSI receive a personal needs allowance (PNA).  Despite an increase in living expenses, this amount has not changed since 1993. Until now.

When the federal government recently raised the SSI benefit for each individual by $37, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare issued a policy statement allowing individuals living in personal care homes to keep $25 of that money bringing the total amount of the personal needs allowance to $85. 

DPW’s decision does not cost the state more than it currently spends; and personal care homes do not lose any money.

This decision by Estelle Richman, DPW Secretary, was influenced by several lawmakers, notably Representatives Jim Marshall and Phyllis Mundy.

Please send the following email to Governor Rendell and Representatives Marshall and Mundy to let them know you are happy with this decision.

“Court shuts down West Philly mental health facility”

I found this article on the Philly.com  website the article name is also a link to the page where the article can be found.  I found the article to be appalling, yet hopeful.  I was appalled because of the setting that folks with mental illnesses were subjected to living in, but at the same time hopeful because the people were removed from an aweful place, and placed elsewhere.

Court shuts down West Philly mental health facility

For much of the past three years, at least seven people with mental-health problems called a dirty, three-story West Philadelphia rowhouse “home.”
The property — the Parks Personal Care Home on 59th Street near Master — was supposed to provide comfort, medicine and round-the-clock care.
Instead, the residents were faced with little supervision, squalid living conditions and the added insult of having owner Sakina Parks allegedly withhold their Social Security money, according to the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
This week, the allegedly mistreated tenants caught a break. 
On Thursday, the Court of Common Pleas issued an order to shut down the home and prevent Parks — who does not have a current license to operate a personal-care facility — from running any other properties in the state.
Five of the seven residents were moved yesterday to other local mental-health facilities, said Lisa Faulkner, who heads We C.A.R.E., an advocacy project run by the Mental Health Association. A legal loophole allowed two residents to continue living in Parks’ property.
“Certainly, the situation they’re in now is 100 percent better than where they were,” said Faulkner, who investigated complaints about Parks’ West Philly property for the past three years.
Faulkner said tempers ran high yesterday morning when she arrived at the house along with police, firefighters and members of the Department of Public Welfare.
“It was very, very chaotic,” Faulkner said. “She [Parks] was screaming in people’s faces. The main thing is, we got them out of there.”
The residents had been referred to Parks’ personal-care home from a variety of sources — hospitals, other mental-health agencies, even the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Parks operated as a representative payee, meaning the state deposited the residents’ Social Security checks into an account, and Parks was then supposed to distribute the funds to them, Faulkner said. 
“She wasn’t giving them their money,” Faulkner said. “One resident told me she made him do chores to get his money.” 
Parks could not be reached for comment last night. 
Fire Department officials determined the house had heat and working smoke alarms. “But that was about it,” Faulkner said. 
“It’s not a small house, but it’s not very clean. I’ve seen other personal-care homes that were not palaces, but the people loved it because they were treated with dignity. That was not the case here.”
Some residents complained of not being fed breakfast, while others noted that they were forced to sit on a couch under a picture of a doghouse if they misbehaved, Faulkner said.
“These are people with mental-health diagnoses who need help with daily living,” Faulkner said.
In court, the Department of Public Welfare reported that Parks hadn’t had an updated license to operate a roominghouse or a personal-care facility since 2003, the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania noted in a press release.

PNA increased from $60 to $85 per month

I have an exciting update for folks.  I have just found out that there is an increase in the personal needs allowance (PNA) for folks on SSI in personal care homes.  The increase isn’t what those of use who were advocating for the increase were hoping for but it is definitely and improvement for those who will be effected by it.  The increase is effective January 1, 2009 bringing the PNA up from $60 to  a new amount of $85

Hats off to all those who worked diligently to make this increase a reality!!

(Edited to remove non-functional links to documents belonging to outside sources and corrected a couple of spelling errors on 4/12/2014  Thank you to the reader who let me know about the issue with the links)

The death of HB2253 … or is it? Part 2

  This is a second email I received from the same source at PMHCA regarding the death and hopefully resurrection of HB2253 offing another way you can help.

Click here to download the booklet mentioned in the following message

 

 

Dear friends – Here’s another way to get our message out about the personal needs allowance.

 

I’m attaching a booklet that tells the real stories of several personal care home residents and their struggles to survive on $60 per month. You can print a copy of this booklet (color is fantastic if you have a color printer!), personalize it with your own message and send it on to the Governor and your legislators.

 

You could even have everyone in your drop-in center, support group, clubhouse, personal care home or other group to write their personal messages. Some people may want to tell what they spend their monthly allowance on. Feel free to add more blank pages that you fill in.

 

You will want to include a cover letter that tells who is sending the booklet to them so they can contact you. Here is what we want the governor and our legislators to know:  

It’s time to give a holiday gift to Pennsylvania’s low income personal care home residents: SPLIT THE SSI RAISE!

Nearly 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities in PA’s personal care homes are struggling to live on a $60 monthly allowance that must pay for medication co-pays, transportation, clothing, phone calls and all personal items. They have not received a raise in their monthly needs allowance since 1993!

 

In January 2009, all citizens on SSI will receive a generous 5.8% cost of living raise, $37 per month – the largest raise in 25 years. PA’s PCH residents will not receive ONE CENT of the raise unless DPW decides lets some of it go to them. We advocate that the raise be split evenly between the residents and the owners, as it was for Dom Care.

Please ask DPW to “Split the SSI raise” so that some of our most vulnerable residents can better meet their own needs!

 

Send to:

1. Governor Edward Rendell

225 Capital Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Or governor@state.pa.us

 

2. Your PA state legislators – You can find your legislator at www.congress.org. Type your zip code into the box beside “find your officials”. Send your message to your State Legislators.

The Death of HB2253 …. Or is it?

I received the following info in an email from a friend of mine at PMHCA.  The links at the end of this post will take you to a place you can download the files Rachel mentions in her update.

Dear friends – I’m writing to update you on our fight to Raise the $60 Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for residents of personal needs allowance and to thank you for all your help over the past year on this struggle. Here’s what we know:

Ø  House Bill 2253- The bill to raise the PNA will quietly die at the end of the 2008. We will work to get it reintroduced in the new session and will need your help in 2009 for that!

Ø  SSI Cost of Living Adjustment (raise) – We were excited to learn that people on SSI will be receiving a $37/month raise from Social Security starting January 2009. This is the largest raise in SSI since 1982!! However: Unless the Department of Public Welfare changes the amount of the personal needs allowance to reflect this raise, the personal care home residents will not receive ONE CENT of their raise.

It will all go to the owners of the personal care homes. We understand that the owners’ costs are also rising; they have received many raises over the past 15 years to address this. Residents have not received a raise for 15 years!

We are asking for DPW to support a split in the $37/month raise: $18.50 to the residents, $18.50 to the owners – this just seems fair and in fact, it’s what the Department of Aging does in their Dom Care Homes.

 

Here’s what we need YOU to do:

       Contact the governor’s office and your legislator to ask that DPW “Split the SSI Raise” between personal care home residents

       Here’s a message you can use:

It’s time to give a holiday gift to Pennsylvania’s low income personal care home residents: SPLIT THE SSI RAISE!

Nearly 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities in PA’s personal care homes are struggling to live on a $60 monthly allowance that must pay for medication co-pays, transportation, clothing, phone calls and all personal items. They have not received a raise in their monthly needs allowance since 1993!

 

In January 2009, all citizens on SSI will receive a generous 5.8% cost of living raise, $37 per month – the largest raise in 25 years. PA’s PCH residents will not receive ONE CENT of the raise unless DPW decides lets some of it go to them. We advocate that the raise be split evenly between the residents and the owners, as it was for Dom Care.

Please ask DPW to “Split the SSI raise” so that some of our most vulnerable residents can better meet their own needs!

 

Have a letter writing table at your holiday party! You can use the attached postcards to send your message – just print them up on card stock.

 

Send to:

1. Governor Edward Rendell

225 Capital Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Or governor@state.pa.us

 

2. Your PA state legislators – You can find your legislator at www.congress.org. Type your zip code into the box beside “find your officials”. Send your message to your State Legislators.

 

Click here to download Christmas Postcards to get your message out to Pennsylvania State government Officials

PAMHI signs on to support HB2253

  Pennsylvana Mental Health Issues has officially signed onboard as a supporting organization of HB2253.  For folks who don’t know what this bill is, I have included information below that covers the reasons behind HB2253 and why it needs to be passed, along with a contact person to gain more information, or to sign on as an organization supporter of HB2253.

 

COULD YOU LIVE ON $60 PER MONTH?!

 

Please, raise the monthly $60 personal needs allowance for 9,000 personal care home residents on SSI!

 

·         Everyone on SSI who lives in a personal care home in Pennsylvania pays their entire SSI check ($623.00), plus a state supplement of $439 each month for room and board – about $1000 per month.

 

They get back a $60 personal needs allowance out of the $1062 that they pay to the personal care home owner to use for all of their needs beyond room and board.

 

The state decides how big the allowance should be; it is 100% state money.

 

·         It can be given to them in what ever installments the owner chooses: $2/day; $15/week or $60 for the month.

 

·         The allowance has been $60 per month since 1993; due to inflation, what cost $60 in1993 now costs approximately $83

 

·         Residents must now cover with their medication co-pays and over the counter meds with the $60 monthly allowance, as well as co-pays for doctor visits

 

·         They must also pay for toll telephone calls, clothing and shoes, bus fares, haircuts, cigarettes, snacks and entertainment, as well as other personal needs 

 

·         It is clear that the PCH residents are not getting enough of their own money to meet ongoing expenses. 

 

·         When the state provided an increase to the Dom Care Supplement in 2005, one half of the increase went directly to the residents.  None of the 2006 state PCH supplement increase went directly to increasing the personal needs allowance

 

·         We are asking you to rectify this injustice! 

For more information contact Rachel Freund, PA Mental Health Consumers’ Association  412-621-4706 or rfreund@verizon.net

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