A measure to create a task force reviewing the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on group homes in New York is heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk for her consideration. 

The bill, approved earlier this year, would also seek feedback from the residents of those facilities with the goal of improving living conditions and the communication between residents and families. 

“Residents of group homes, who often have disabilities, deserve the right to weigh in on how they are being treated,” said state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a sponsor of the bill. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a stark failure in communication between residents and the institutions tasked with supporting them. My bill will establish a more open forum for feedback to help us target the issues most important to group home residents and their families.”

Initial data has shown vulnerable people during the pandemic as well as staff in residential facilities struggled during the initial outbreak. The case count in group homes was triple of the state's general population. And as of early 2021, more than 10,000 staffers at group homes have been inefected with COVID-19.

If approved, the law would take effect within two months.