GREENVILLE — County commissioners passed a resolution on Monday to close the Darke County Home, as well as to eliminate job classifications for the facility’s remaining employees.
As previously reported by The Daily Advocate, the closure and sale of the Darke County Home facility was announced in April of this year, as part of the county’s efforts to raise funds for upcoming emergency communication system upgrades. The county has been in talks with the Tri County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, which may purchase the facility for use as a drug rehabilitation service and mental health center.
“When I came in we had almost 60 residents at the county home, and it’s just dwindled down, dwindled down, and dwindled down,” said Rhoades. “So we had to look at it financially… we spend about half a million dollars a year there, and you’ve gotta be practical with taxpayers’ money. So consequently, this board determined that we needed to shut it down.”
Only 22 residents remained when the closure was initially announced, the majority of whom Darke County Job and Family Services has been working to place in other facilities. The Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities, meanwhile, has been looking at placing the seven remaining residents who qualified for their services.
“I’ve talked to some of the residents that were out there that have been placed, and they are so happy, “ Commissioner Rhoades said. “Not that they were treated badly at the county home, but they have much more of an independent life. This is a good thing for them.”
“They’re gonna get far better service out there,” said Commissioner Mike Stegall. “As well as a better location.”
Mike Beasecker, superintendent of Darke County DD, expressed similar sentiments.
“If you’ve lived in a place that you’re very familiar with, for a number of years, there’s going to be some level of anxiety usually with a move, as there would be for any of us,” said Beasecker of the residents he’s worked with. “But I really think that as people begin choosing where they want to live, and making some choices for themselves in their lives, and really becoming part of the community, I see it as a real positive for those individuals.”
Beasecker said that, while some former residents may be placed in nursing homes or other facilities if that’s what their relatives or guardians prefer, there are plenty of other options being explored, including placing them in apartment communities or even helping them purchase a home, with the aid of funds from the state of Ohio.
County Business Administrator John Cook said that, in addition to finding placements for former residents of the facility, Job and Family Services is working to find new positions for county employees who will be laid off when the facility shuts down. About five employees remain, some of whom have agreed to work part-time until the facility closes.
“We’re confident that we’re going to have jobs for everyone,” Cook said.
The Darke County Home will close September 30.
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