Gary Levin

“As an Adult Home Resident July 23, 2001, to October 30, 2006, I became aware of the problems that come along with living there. I came to the adult home when I was at a low point in my life. Depression had gotten the better of me and I wound up hospitalized at St. John’s in Far Rockaway. When it was time to be discharged, I was given two options: long-term psychiatric treatment or an adult home. Of course, I chose the adult home.I got acquainted with CIAD around March of 2003 when George Gitlitz, CIAD’s first Adult Home Project Director, would come to Ocean House HFA and invite me to attend quarterly Caucus meetings at Queens Borough Hall.These meetings allowed residents across New York City to talk about the problems at their adult homes, how to get the State to do something to improve the quality of the homes and get the operators and administration to work with their residents to make living better lives more important than just making more money for the Operators!

Joining CIAD changed my life and showed me the importance of Advocacy! I attended Policy Committee meetings and joined the Media Team. I went on to become a Community Organizer in 2005 while I was still living in Ocean House HFA, and proud to say that I was the first resident and peer to be hired by CIAD. In 2004, I won the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc.(NYAPRS) Frances Olivero Advocacy Award for my advocacy work done on behalf of adult home residents. When the state was shutting down Ocean House, I was going to be shipped to another adult home. CIAD intervened on my behalf, and I was able to move to my own apartment. I have been living independently ever since.”