The closing of the Somerville Home is not the fault of the staff or the board. It is certainly not the fault of the 47 residents. Some of them have lived there for decades; some moved there when other rest homes closed; some were previously homeless.
The Home's problem is that the state, which pays for almost all the residents, hasn't raised its rates since 2012. All of the Home’s costs have gone up but their income hasn’t.
Since 2008, 24 rest homes have closed; out of 147 rest homes in 1998, 53 remain. One that closed recently is now a doggy day care.
Because of low state payments, rest homes often can’t access loans to upgrade their facilities and attract private pay residents who would pay higher rates.
Residents who are displaced from rest homes often find no other such home, and wind up in nursing homes which offer less independence and cost a lot more. Already five Somerville Home residents are moving to nursing homes.
I recently visited the home, and was really moved to hear some of the residents talk about how important their relationships with each other and the staff are, and how disturbed they are to have to move, perhaps far away from family and the community they know.