John George Home: Spared for a month

John George Home: Spared for a month

Friday, April 1, 2005

Ever since 1948, the John George Home has been a valuable fixture in Jackson – a home for “worthy older men.” Now, with about a month’s funding, it faces the do-or-die test of its 55-year existence. Survival depends on how two questions are answered over the next few months:

Is there sufficient need in Jackson for the 35-bed facility to justify keeping it open?
Also, if a need still exists, are there sufficient financial resources in the community to sustain the home in its present crisis?

The John George Home, 1501 E. Ganson, is the victim of a subtle blend of circumstances. First, its history did not begin with the 1948 establishment of the John George Home. Before that it had served years as Jackson’s first hospital and later as a residence for nurses in training. So it is an old, even historic, building.

So it should surprise no one that last spring the John George Home faced closure for repeated violations of state health and safety regulations. After that, the home was thoroughly cleaned, painted, updated – plus there was a change of administration, and a registered nurse and housekeepers were added to the staff.

In the late ‘40s, the home was created with broad support by Jackson’s business community – and a $75,000 gift from the John George Foundation. Until last year’s unexpected expenses, the home had a financial cushion. Now, though the facility is in good shape, its cushion is gone. And to complicate matters, eight men who previously lived there had to leave because they did not fit the low-income criteria for the home. That left only about 20 men – not enough to produce the needed revenue or justify the home’s continuance.

Thus, the home’s survival is at stake. Faced with imminent closure, the home appealed to the community. To its credit, the Jackson County Community Foundation came through with $20,000 – a month-long lifeline. But the home needs at least a six-month lifeline to stabilize itself and address questions of long-term need.

We urge other foundations and benefactors to take a careful, sympathetic look at the home and the niche it fills in Jackson. Perhaps the John George board might explore ways it could stretch dollars by partnering, for example, with a similar facility for women – the Jackson Friendly Home.

From what we see, there is clearly a need for the John George Home. How broad that need is, we aren’t sure. But it is much easier to save a needed facility now than to recreate one to address the same problems later.

–The Jackson Citizen Patriot

Reprinted with permission from Jackson Citizen Patriot

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