Chatham Assisted living facility closing after nearly 100 years

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

CHATHAM (WSLS 10) - In about a week, Susan Franco will no longer be slicing tomatoes and helping residents at Oak Grove Residential Care with their diets.

Instead, she and the roughly two dozen other staff members will be unemployed.

They were informed on September 27 that board members no longer had enough money to keep the assisted living facility open.

"I'm upset. I think they took too long and dumped the burden on everybody here," said Franco.

The residents, many of whom are elderly and have disabilities, are now being placed in whatever assisted living facilities Pittsylvania County Social Services can find.

Some residents have been taken in by their families.

Raymond Toone, a resident, said when he first heard the news, he thought it was a joke.

"I didn't know what was coming next; where I was going to go," said Toone.

He now plans to stay with family for awhile and then go to an assisted living facility in South Hill, but said it will be tough being away from the people he's lived with.

"That makes me sad. My heart goes out to them," Toone said.

Board chair Kitty Rogers says 95 percent of the money for operations comes from grants.

The facility receives $1,219 per month per resident, but that's no longer enough to provide the necessary care and pay the bills.

Since July, board members have been looking for a buyer that could renovate the building and keep it open.

Several offers came in, but Rogers said they didn't have the capital to do all the necessary work.

"The only way it's going to get done is if we close it and let someone reopen it," Rogers explained.

Oak Grove will officially close on October 22.

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