Meet the Residents

Our constituency is a diverse cross section of adults among the five boroughs of New York City. Our members range from younger adults in their 20’s to older seniors. Many have had careers and post-secondary education. Constituents are People of Color, LatinX, Asian and immigrants from a variety of ethnic origins. They are cis women and cis men as well as members of the LGTBQ+ spectrum of self-identification. Many survive on limited income and navigate age-related health issues, chronic illnesses, and mental health diagnoses. The experience of adults living in institutionalized settings, can be one of stigmatization and infantilization which robs them of independence, individuality, and decision-making power.

In Memoriam

Valerie Hall

Peer Advocate

The CIAD Board of Directors and Staff are saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Valerie Hall, Peer Advocate.

Valerie served as the Resident Council President at Ocean View Home. She encouraged others to participate in the Council and worked diligently to improve relations with the administration of the home. She was actively involved in the EQUAL Grant process and other initiatives in the home which led to greater empowerment and positive outcomes for the residents.

No matter what was happening in her life or the world, Valerie always had a smile and a positive outlook. When things got difficult, she was strengthened by her deep faith in God and was buoyed by her church family and friends. Like many adult home residents, Valerie overcame many obstacles and challenges in her life. Now, after a life well and generously lived, she has completed her life journey. She will be greatly missed.

Rest eternal grant her, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon her.

valerie hall with certificate
Peer Advocate Valerie Hall

Norman Bloomfield

Former Resident Council President, Board of Directors, and dearly missed. 

As told by our Executive Director Geoff Lieberman

Norman Bloomfield was the accomplished Resident Council President at Surf Manor Home for Adults for many years and a long-standing member of CIAD’s Board of Directors. He was fearless, brilliant, and exacting. He had a sharp and impish wit. 

He could have moved out of Surf Manor but chose not to, even though he was a fierce and knowledgeable advocate for supportive housing for adult home residents. Indeed, he helped many Surf Manor residents successfully navigate the O’Toole Settlement process into their own apartments. Instead, he made a conscious decision to dedicate himself to helping residents by remaining in Surf Manor. 

Given the opportunities he could have pursued, the charged circumstances of his life as a resident advocate that included a constant barrage of threats and intimidation, and the life he shared with others in a troubled home and a troubled system, it was an extraordinary decision —  as grassroots and in the trenches as one could be. 

He, more than most residents, demanded that he speak for himself, that all residents can and should tell their own stories. Few could do it as authoritatively or articulately. And there is plenty of evidence that he has left behind, from his testimony at court and government hearings, the tally of his Resident Council successes, his letters, live videotaped presentations and the media coverage he garnered. 

Bloomfield’s Testimony at Court

Bloomfield’s Testimony at Government Hearings

Bloomfield’s Resident Council Successes

Bloomfield Media Coverage

Irene Kaplan

Former Resident, Board Member & Staff, and dearly missed. 

As told by our Executive Director Geoff Lieberman

Irene Kaplan was front and center at CIAD for twenty years. She served as a board member, Vice President and President of the organization. Outspoken and unafraid, she represented residents at countless meetings with state policy makers and at press conferences and played a vital role at CIAD Policy Committee meetings strategizing CIAD campaigns. She also worked to build bridges between adult home residents and their peers in the community with her service as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Bureau of Recipient Affairs of the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Like many residents, she ended up in an adult home because of a cascading succession of misfortunes – illness, loss of her job and home, and deepening depression. 

“Living in an adult home was supposedly a temporary solution to homelessness,” she said at a NYS Assembly Hearing, “Getting into an adult home is easy. But getting out can be nearly impossible.”

Her description of life in an adult home represents many residents’ experiences, “I had a roof over my head, but I was not allowed true self-reliance or independence. Everything was done for me. I had my own apartment for over twenty years and had always worked but I was treated as if I was completely helpless, talked down to, infantilized, and unable to think for myself. You are not encouraged to move forward. Over time, this cuts into your self-confidence and you begin to doubt your ability to start over again, especially when you have a mental illness. CIAD was a lifeline for me. Without them I would not have had a ray of hope.” 

She gave back by giving others hope through her years of service.  

Woodrow “Woody” Wilson

Former Resident and President, and dearly missed. 

As told by our Executive Director Geoff Lieberman

Woodrow Wilson was the powerful, steady, and eloquent voice for CIAD as the President of its Board for over 20 years. Everyone knew him as Woody. He presided over the many defining moments of the organization during that time: CIAD’s move to focus on adult home issues; our work leading up to and in the wake of the New York Times’ Pulitzer-Prize winning investigation of adult homes; the first Adult Home Resident Speak Out, still going strong after 15 years; air-conditioning residents’ rooms; giving resident councils significant power over the EQUAL Grants Program, and responding to the plight of 1,000 evacuated residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. 

I have fond memories of traveling with him across the state, to Binghamton, Long Island, and Staten Island, and getting lost along the way more often than not. But he kept the organization and me on track when it came to the important things: sticking to CIAD’s empowerment mission, and his clear-eyed vision of what can be achieved when residents work together. His strong and committed advocacy on behalf of the institutionalized aged and disabled was not confined to New York alone. He had a national impact as well, as a Board member of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR), now The National Consumer Voice, and the National Senior Citizens’ Law Center, now Justice in Aging.  NCCNHR awarded Woody the Janet Tulloch Advocacy Memorial Award, which recognized him as a champion for the rights of long-term care residents.

There are many things for which we can remember Woody. For me, the strongest memory of him will be his presence. He was tall in stature, and not only in the physical sense. He carried himself with a grace and dignity that belied the post-polio syndrome he lived with for many years. In his easy and unassuming, but leonine way, he commanded respect. It was the same way when he spoke. He didn’t need volume to get people to listen to him, even when he was addressing a large crowd. He epitomized the dignity and respect due to all adult home and nursing home residents. We were lucky to have him as our leader for so long, and we will miss him.