Protect Lifeline For Queens Seniors

To The Editor:

Queens has a rapidly growing elderly population facing severe problems, such as mental illness. Fortunately, there’s a place where many troubled seniors get help – Club Pride, part of the Pride of Judea Mental Health Center at 243-02 Northern Blvd, Douglaston. Funded by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and New York City’s Dept. of Mental Health & Hygene, Club Pride (launched in 1997) is a geriatric psycho-social club. It provides counseling, therapy and social re-adjustment services for Queens residents, from 55 to 94, who suffer from mental illness & substance abuse. Clients come from Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Whitestone, College Point and Bayside.

They’re referred by psychiatrists and other mental health providers, after their discharge from psychiatric and chronic care hospitals. If not for Club Pride, many of them would have to be re-institutionalized, at a heavy cost to taxpayers. Club Pride provides daily transportation to members via two busses for the Flushing and Bayside areas. But Flushing bus service will cease by Dec. 6 due to budget cuts. Many riders are physically disabled. They can’t use public transportation and can’t afford Access-A-Ride’s daily $5 roundtrip fare. They’re distressed by the fear of losing Club Pride’s vital assistance. Mayor Bloomberg says “do more with less,” but that often means doing less for many, including the mentally ill. Don’t let this happen. Contact U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (212-486-4430), U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (718-445-7860), State Senator Tony Avella (718-357-3094), City Councilman Mark Weprin (718-468-0137) and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (212-669-7200). Urge them to save an essential resource for their constituents.

Richard Reif,