Men's Home Easing Financial Crisis
By Pat Rombyer
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Four months ago, the focus at the John George Home was on paying the bills; today the focus has shifted to making sure the men have a good quality of life.
In March, board president John Campau called an emergency meeting to determine if the home for aging men - which was operating at a $20,000-a-month shortfall - should remain open or cut its losses and close.
The community and foundations responded. Foundations pledged $105,000, essentially guaranteeing that the home will remain open.
"The support has been amazing," said Administrator Carrie Good. "Now we can focus on activities for the men instead of basic needs."
A local business donated the use of a bus, so the men are going next month to a Detroit Tigers baseball game.
Ten organizations and individuals signed on as "room" sponsors. They pay $1,000 a year for five years to maintain one room at the home. Six of the 11 board members are sponsors.
"It's like adopting a resident," Campau said.
And a mail solicitation is under way this month.
"Next year at this time, we won't have a funding crisis," Good said. "We'll always have funding issues, but crises, no."
The 35-bed residence at 1501 E. Ganson St. is home to 29 men today, up from 16 about a year ago, when the state cut off admissions until state violations were corrected. Every inspection since February has been violation-free, Good said.
Getting there was a lengthy and costly process which drained the home's financial reserves.
The board credits Good, who was hired in May 2004, with bringing the home into compliance with state regulations.
"We're still running about $9,000 short a month, but as we increase our residency, that will help," Good said.
Since the crisis, the board has become more involved in the operation of the home, dropping in unannounced for visits, and is working on a strategic plan.
Reprinted with permission from Jackson Citizen Patriot
Copyright July 23, 2005