Albany Care, a specialized mental health rehabilitation facility in the Fourth Ward, has released a plan in response to concerns raised by neighbors and city staff that some residents of the facility are connected to an uptick in aggressive panhandling, inappropriate behavior and crime in the neighborhood.

Fourth Ward City Council member Jonathan Nieuwsma has been organizing a series of community meetings involving neighbors, activists for the homeless, the Police Department and Albany Care staff to address these issues. 

At the meetings, Grey Park neighbors said that although they have lived alongside Albany Care for many years and have regarded the facility as a good neighbor, they say the neighborhood no longer feels safe. The neighbors said the management is not responsive and some are worried about whether facility residents are receiving proper care.

Albany Care shared a plan of engagement, which aims to address these issues, with the RoundTable. The plan is split into three subsections, and includes a response to business owners on the Main Dempster Mile, a commitment to keep working alongside city staff and some internal changes, including new hires. 

Four break-ins occurred on Main Street in September, and Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew said two of the four were confirmed to have been committed by Albany Care residents. In response, “Albany Care will cover costs associated with loss and damages to area businesses by former Albany Care residents over Labor Day Weekend,” the facility’s plan states. 

The plan states the facility will continue working with Evanston Police Officer Mike Jones, Nieuwsma’s office, the city’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Candice Mitchell and staff at the Health and Human Services Department.

Also included in the plan are internal improvements, including the hiring of a new Executive Director, Stacy Seals, who is scheduled to start Oct. 25, as well as a new Assistant Executive Director,  Jessica Lintz, who is set to start Nov. 11. 

Albany Care is highlighting a new email address, info@albanycare.com, for neighborhood residents to use to submit questions and concerns. And it is making changes to its Grey Park monitoring program, including increased training for staff, uniforms to make staffers more visible to community members and a communication plan for any incidents. 

“I am optimistic that a reinforced commitment as thus far demonstrated and as so reflected in Albany’s intervention ‘Plan’ will serve to the fullest extent possible to ensure that any future legitimate concerns are fully addressed in the most expeditious manner possible,” wrote Michael Giannini, a member of Albany’s board of directors, in a memo to the RoundTable.

Read the full plan here (text reproduced as in original document, except where indicated by brackets):

Main Dempster Mile/Local Business Owners Response 

Albany Care will cover costs associated with loss and damages to area businesses by former Albany Care [residents] over Labor Day Weekend. The following business owners were contacted to notify of Albany Care’s intent to cover loss and damages: 

Trattoria D.O.C. located at 706 Main Street 

Reprise Coffee Roasters 710 Main Street 

Delta Discount Store located at 800 Main Street 

Main Foods located at 835 Main Street 

Albany Care has joined the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and will be an active participant of the business community. 

Outreach to Main Dempster Mile business community with a contact card to increase communication will be delivered by the end of the month of October. 

City of Evanston Public Services Response 

Evanston Police Department 

Executive Director (Stacy Seals), Assistant Executive Director (Jessie Lintz), and Consultant (Megan Marker) will engage in ongoing communication with Officer Mike Jones, Problem Solving Officer along with Albany Care staff. 

Upcoming meeting (TBD) to meet new Executive Director Stacy Seals and follow up on concerns discussed. 

Long-Term Care Ombudsman 

Albany Care initiated weekly meetings on September 29th, 2021 with Candice Mitchell to address consumer rights inquiries, partner together to advocate for Albany Care residents, and other areas of advocacy identified. We will continue to meet weekly. 

Ward 4 Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma’s office 

Albany Care will continue to attend Grey Park Neighborhood Meetings and respond to legitimate concerns related to the facility in a timely manner. 

Albany Care will be in attendance at Fourth Ward Community meetings and respond to legitimate concerns related to the facility in a timely manner. 

Megan Marker, Consultant, met with Dan Coyne, School Social Worker at [District 65] and a member of Reba Place Church drop in visit on 10/08/2021. … A follow up meeting is anticipated the first week of November 2021.

Health and Human Services Department, Communicable Disease Liaisons 

Laura Young, Director of Nursing at Albany Care, is participating in weekly communication of COVID vaccination rates and adherence to guidelines and emergency rules. 

Megan Marker, Consultant, is participating in monthly COVID-19 Senior and Congregate Living Communities Work Group meetings. 

Upcoming meeting on 10/21/2021 with Albany Care and Sarah Franks and Susan Whiting to discuss prevention and preparedness for continued COVID response and safety management. This meeting will also discuss appropriate transfers of vulnerable resident who may be appropriate for skilled nursing care. 

Building Level Response 

Executive Director Stacy Seals, LCPC will begin at Albany Care on 10/25/2021, Jessica Lintz, LCPC to begin to serve as Assistant Executive Director on 11/17/2021. 

Beautification plan initiated which will address cosmetic improvements to the [front] of the building with anticipated completion in October 2021. 

Albany Care has created an email address info@albanycare.com for community members and other stakeholders to increase communication with Albany Care leaders and staff. Any concerns related to Albany Care can be sent to this email address and to Patrick Baalke, Consultant pbaalke@generationshcn.com and Megan Marker, Consultant mmarker@sirmanagement.com. 

Albany Care has formalized its Park Monitoring program to include increased training to serve as an extension of the treatment plan, Albany Care branded uniforms for increased visibility with community members, and a communication plan for incidents and activity in Grey Park involving the Albany Care community.

This article has updated to correct details of the meeting with Dan Coyne and Coyne’s employment.

 

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. My name is Christopher Neubauer and I am a current resident of Albany Care off maple street in Evanston. As much as I try to keep my hopes up they seem to be slipping downward daily. I am trying to better myself with the options I have, it is difficult with no positive reinforcement or goals to shoot for. I was told when I came here all doctor’s appointments would be set up and I am yet to see the eye doctor or get a return trip to the dentist even though I am in pain daily. I have been trying to get on disability but still have no help from staff. I keep my hopes up but they are being shot down.

  2. I’m a current Consumer at Albany Care. I’ve resided here for over two years. Before the Pandemic, there were groups that specialized in assisting Consumers with Mental Health issues, Substance Dependance and Physical Ailments. Since then, there has been a dramatic change in supporting Consumers. I understand that this facility is understaffed. There has been many concerns about the proper care and supportive help from the staff. Hopefully with the new changes in Adminstration and hiring professional employees; this facility would be more supportive and provide the Consumers the proper care and respect they deserve.

  3. I have long wondered about the quality and quantity of supportive therapeutic services offered to residents at large facilities such as Albany House. Many years ago, I worked at a facility such as this on Kenmore Ave in Chicago as a psych tech. I had no training at all, yet was giving out patient meds daily. At the time, there were some weekly therapy groups, but it did not appear that residents were required to attend.
    The residents of such buildings are mostly chronically mentally ill patients, who can often be supported to be reasonably productive members of the community with proper supports.
    Smaller, well staffed independent housing communities have replaced the older warehousing model for many years and in such facilities, residents are enabled to thrive rather than living barely subsisting lives.
    Perhaps the new director and assistant director will be able to implement more supportive strategies to build the strengths of residents, but I believe that such large facilities are outmoded and generally incapable of producing good outcomes for residents.

  4. The Albany Care plan misses the most important issue, now accepting clients who have dual diagnoses of mental illness and active addiction without a rehabilitation program to help the addicts. The people who are causing the neighborhood difficulties are the addicts needing money to pay for their drugs. They often barter or threaten others living at Albany care and steal from local business to get the “goods” or money they can use to acquire the drugs. What is Albany Care planning to do and when to control that behavior inside Albany Care and outside to help rehabilitate them?