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Lack of money may force senior assisted living homes to close

August 25, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

A nonprofit organization that operates two senior assisted living homes in Hagerstown is battling budget problems, and a representative of the organization said Tuesday it's not certain whether the facilities will remain open next year.

The homes, Holly Place at 240 S. Potomac St. and North Holly Place at 268 S. Potomac St., are run by Senior Living Alternatives Inc.

Doug Wright, a member of the board that oversees the homes, told the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday that a decrease in state funding and a reduction in money from the Gaming Commission has made it difficult for the organization to operate.

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"We hope it's there next year, but we don't know that," Wright said.

Wright, on behalf of the organization, asked the County Commissioners for $25,000 to go toward operating expenses. The commissioners unanimously agreed to contribute the money.

Holly Place and North Holly Place provide a place to live for 30 senior citizens who are not financially able to live on their own. The seniors are accepted regardless of how much they can afford to pay, Wright said.

"Many of our residents have no family and many have family that is indifferent to their plight," Senior Living Alternatives Administrator Melanie Davis wrote in a June 24 letter to the commissioners.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell asked Wright what would happen to the seniors should the homes shut down.

"There's no place for them," Wright responded.

Wright said many of the seniors don't meet the medical requirements for nursing homes and wouldn't be able to pay for another place to live.

Senior Living Alternatives originally asked the commissioners to contribute the $25,000 so the organization could purchase capital items. It then decided the money, if awarded by the commissioners, should go toward operating expenses after it did not receive the entire $100,000 it requested from the Gaming Commission's tip jar distribution.

The Gaming Commission gave the group $40,000.

Senior Living Alternatives is trying to make up the difference through other means, and the money from the county will help, Wright said.

"We're looking for a guardian angel right now," Wright said.

Last year, Senior Living Alternatives' expenses were $741,000, Wright said.

Wright said he didn't fault the Gaming Commission for not contributing the entire $100,000 and said the commission does a "great job."

Commissioner Doris J. Nipps suggested that Senior Living Alternatives ask other senior facilities to contribute money or donate items.

"I think some of them will step forward and be able to help you guys," she said.

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