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Sometime in mid-April, the Illinois Department of Health will reach a decision regarding the licensing of Albany Care, a mental health facility at 901 Maple Ave. that has drawn concerns from both neighbors and residents of the facility due to purportedly poor management. 

Fourth Ward Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma shared this update at a meeting on Thursday, April 14, adding that there’s a possibility that IDPH will revoke the facility’s license.

Nieuwsma said this would not be the optimal outcome because it would mean finding housing for more than 300 people who are currently living in the building, and there are only 19 other facilities like Albany Care in the state, including Greenwood Care, also located in Evanston.

In the meantime, the operators of the facility would have no incentive to provide support to those still in the building, and have every financial incentive to cut costs, he added. 

The other possibility is that the facility maintains its license. This isn’t a good outcome either, Nieuwsma said. 

“What happens in that case?” he said. “They barely scrape by and continue to suck?”

If the facility does keep its license, the city will apply whatever pressure it can to push Albany Care’s operators to do their jobs well, he added. 

Despite recent efforts to contact IDPH, Nieuwsma has not heard an update yet, but was told that a decision would be made by mid-April, he said.

Nieuwsma said he, along with Mayor Daniel Biss, the city’s Human Services Department, the City Manager, and State Representative Robyn Gabel, initially brought Albany Care to the attention of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the licensing authority of the facility. 

“When I look at Albany Care I see an example of how things can go totally wrong if you’re not doing it right,” said Nieuwsma.

In an investigation published in December, the RoundTable found that in a 10-week period, the police had been called 113 times from within Albany Care. 

Three individuals living within the facility reported feeling neglected and disrespected by staff. They also said the facility is extremely understaffed and that medication is sometimes administered at inconsistent times, or not at all.

During that investigation, Megan Marker, the Senior Vice Presidents of Albany Care’s consultant organization, S.I.R. Management, responded to the claims that the facility is understaffed. She said the facility meets the staffing standards set by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In a statement to the RoundTable, Stacy Seals, who worked as the executive director for Albany Care at that time, denied that residents were receiving their medication at irregular times.

The community will be updated on IDPH’s decision as soon as it is announced, Nieuwsma said.

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...

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  1. Albany Care seems to still not implement any consequences when a person is found under the influence of THC and other illegal drugs. If a consumer appears to be intoxicated; they take a brethalzyer. Usually that consumer is admitted to a hospital to safely detox.

    I have witnessed multiple times Consumers smoke THC inside of the facility. Absolutely nothing happens. This should be a drug free facility.

    I was told to notify an employee when I see a consumer doing illegal activity.
    I told Albany Care multiple times and absolutely no consequences towards the consumer.

    THC is legal in Illinois, but not in an facility like Albany Care. A plethora of consumer are concerned for their safety.

    WE don’t understand why the staff doesn’t do anything about the illegal use of Crack, THC and heroin. If they don’t start imposing consequences; someone might overdose.

    Another excuse is that they can’t prove illegal drug activity. It’s obvious when someone is under the influence of Marijuana. The smell is obvious and red eyes, improper speech, etc. I hope that Albany Care will start improving the safety of the Consumers.

  2. While I am not a big, or even small, for the matter, a bible verse reading kind of guy, aren’t there hundreds of passages about carrying for those who have less among us?

    For example..” whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none and whoever has food is to do the same.”..