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Commissioners consider giving Holly Place $20,000

April 30, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners are considering giving the financially troubled Holly Place and Holly Place North, group homes for senior citizens, $20,000 for the next fiscal year.

The proposed amount, however, is $108,300 less than what the facility requested.

"That would mean we have to go out and raise a lot more money," Melanie Davis, administrator of the homes, said Friday. "That's kind of disappointing."

Senior Living Alternatives Inc., which runs the Holly Place homes, asked the County Commissioners for $128,300 for fiscal year 2006, which begins July 1.

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According to the written request to the county, the Holly Place homes are facing a $151,045 shortfall, "which we have no idea how to meet."

The commissioners discussed the request at a meeting on Tuesday, but stuck with a staff recommendation to make a $20,000 contribution.

Commissioner John C. Munson said he would like to increase the contribution, but none of the other commissioners supported the suggestion.

County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop said increasing the amount likely would not be enough to continue the homes' operations for a long period of time.

The request to the county states that the homes have seen a significant reduction in support from the state.

"This continued reduction in support is seriously threatening our existence," the request states.

The Holly Place homes offer assisted living for senior citizens with low incomes or physical or mental disabilities.

"Without Holly Place, these people would be living on the street, or in unsafe conditions," the request states. "Since these people can't care for themselves, they have to become the responsibility of the community at large."

The homes have 30 beds, but Davis said 26 residents live there now.

Some residents have died, and the homes are afraid to take in any new senior citizens because of the financial situation, she said.

The facilities threatened to close in March, but they have remained open in the hopes that money would filter in.

While she didn't say how long, Davis said she anticipates the home staying open because of financial contributions from the public.

"We're getting a lot of community support," Davis said.

Davis said the Holly Place homes hope to make an announcement in a press conference next week, but that she couldn't provide more details.

Holly Place representatives asked the state to include $150,000 in the fiscal year 2006 budget to assist the facilities, but the amount didn't make the spending plan.

The financial problems came about after new restrictions on Medicaid waivers tightened how such waivers are distributed.

The aid is provided through the Medicaid Waiver for Older Adults program, which is a state-administered program that offers subsidies for seniors who qualify to live in community housing rather than going to nursing homes.

As a result, the number of waivers are limited, creating a waiting list of eligible clients seeking them.

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