Hope Closing Services in Southeast Alaska
By MARY KAUFFMAN
September 06, 2016
Speaking today with Roy Scheller, Hope Community Resources, Inc's CEO and Executive Director, Scheller said he earlier traveled to both Juneau and Ketchikan to personally meet with the families of those receiving services and with the employees to explain the Board's decision. Scheller said a 90-day notice of the cessation of services in Southeast Alaska was provided to all involved. Scheller said today marks day 60 of the notice and the services in Southeast Alaska are set to discontinue at the end of this month.
After meeting with the majority of employees and families associated with Hope's Southeast Regional Office, Scheller said he established a transition team to work with all those involved to assure that if possible everyone had a safe landing with a new service provider organization or position of employment within Hope.
This decision, made in the spring of 2016 by the Board, was reluctantly made after almost two decades of providing a full range of services to Southeast Alaskan’s experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities living in the area. The decision to withdraw from the Juneau and Ketchikan service areas was difficult; and only made after careful and repeated review by both management and the Board of Directors, according to Scheller.
Scheller said Hope Community Resources, Inc has heavily subsidized operations in the Southeast since inception, and the organization’s ability to continue this level of financial subsidy has diminished, resulting in Hope examining how and where they will conduct business. Scheller said Hope Community Resources, Inc's overall funding is not related to the decision to cease services in Southeast Alaska but the decision was made because of the increase costs of operation in Southeast Alaska and the level of subsidy required from Hope to maintain the services in the area.
The Juneau and Ketchikan offices provide services to about 36 people, with the cost of doing business in Southeast much higher than in Anchorage and other areas of the state. Last year, Hope subsidized almost $300,000 providing services in Southeast Alaska, partly, because of the costs involved in supporting 57 employees.
According to Scheller, individual transition plans have been arranged for all Hope's Southeast Alaska clients but for three. The expectation is those three will have their transition plans finalized soon. Where possible and desired, numerous Hope employees in Southeast Alaska were able to transition as employees to new support organizations as the recipients they worked with while at Hope.
Scheller said the Hope's Southeast Alaska Nursing Oversight and Care Management position may be continued by Hope for a short while until that service is picked up by another agency.
Hope operated one assisted living home in Juneau with the majority of services in Southeast Alaska provided to families and adults living on their own.
Services provided by Hope Community Resources, Inc in other areas around the state will not change.
According to Scheller, the State of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services’ Senior and Disability Services has been very helpful in assuring funding plans remain authorized without interruption to assist people with their support transitions to other services.
On October 28, 1968, Nancy Stuart Johnson created the new Anchorage-based organization Hope Cottage. Since then, the agency has undergone immense growth and numerous changes, including two name changes. The first change was to Hope Cottages in 1977 and then to its current name, Hope Community Resources, Inc. in 1998.
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