County of Simcoe steps in to help residents of troubled assisted living facility
The County of Simcoe and its partners will ensure residents of a soon-to-be-closed private assisted living facility in Stayner continue to have a roof over their heads after they were given until March to find new accommodations.
The County will place Huronia Guest Home residents in motels until permanent homes can be found.
"It's all overwhelming, terrifying," said Brenda Cator, a resident of Huronia Guest home for the past three months. "We paid for care, they take our money, and we don't see it."
Staff and residents reported distressing conditions, including a bed bug infestation, damaged or dilapidated walls and floors, and a lack of food at the Stayner facility.
Operating as a private, unlicensed facility, neither the County, Clearview Township, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, nor the province's Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, have legal jurisdiction to intervene.
Regardless, a statement from the County said it, along with the Township, health unit, and South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team, are stepping up to assist residents as they pack up to leave.
"We have to shower, then put on clean clothes that have been brought in, and we will be getting on a bus and going somewhere," Cator said. "We know it will be a motel, but we don't know where it will be or when we are going."
Emily Redpath is a community advocate working to bring attention to the issues at Huronia Guest Home and said she is disgusted with what has happened at the facility.
"It's horrible because nobody is really exempt from these situations - like it could be anyone of our family members that end up in a home like this," she said. "This is something that really needs to be looked at and addressed."
Redpath started an online petition to ensure that the community partners who offered to help the residents follow through on their plan.
She applauds each for the work they've done so far.
"But moving forward, they have to continue their care plans and provide safe homes for these individuals," she said.
As for Cator, while she awaits for a permanent solution to be found, she said she's hoping to work out a plan with the County that will see her move closer to family and friends in Orillia.
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