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Township leaders call on New Jersey governor to close mental health facility plagued by patient deaths, filthy conditions
The New York Daily News - 11/11/2019
Nov. 11--The mayor of a New Jersey township has called on the state's governor to shut down a filthy mental health facility where six residents in its care have died due to incompetent workers, officials said.
Manalapan Township Mayor Susan Cohen and four other community officials sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy claiming that cockroaches, bedbugs, terrible toilets and and an inept staff at Manalapan Manor have plagued residents with mental health issues for years.
"This residential care facility ... houses a population of New Jersey residents who are truly disadvantaged and caught in a system that robs them of their dignity and self-worth," the letter read, according to the Asbury Park Press, which published a copy of the document on its website.
"The only option the township believes is viable now is for this facility to be shut down," the letter said. "The resources being wasted on this failing facility are often too much to quantify, as it is a constant cause for concern on so many levels."
Township officials said the facility has failed to watch over residents. According to the letter, six people in its care have died since 2012 -- including three people struck by vehicles, a fourth who overdosed on heroin, a fifth who died from malnutrition and a sixth who committed suicide.
Police have responded to 339 calls from the facility over a five-month period, from July 1 to Nov. 5, the letter noted. Other residents have also been seen panhandling motorists along Route 33 and customers at nearby stores.
The 59-year-old property -- which houses about 50 residents and was bought by Manalapan Realty in 2017 for $1.5 million -- has been a problem for years.
"It was bad," Cohen told the Asbury Park Press shortly after the sale. "And it's getting worse and worse and worse."
Officials from Murphy's office and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which licensed Manalapan Manor to be a residential health care facility, said on Friday that they would look into the issue.
According to the letter, township representatives have met with DCA officials several times since 2013 to discuss the matter.
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