(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Anger, outrage, and disgust at a tension-filled meeting today at the White Haven Center in Luzerne County. The families of loved ones who reside at the Center met Monday with State and Center Officials regarding the planned closure of the facility in 2022. 122 individuals face physical and intellectual challenges. Lead I-Team reporter Andy Mehalshick first broke the story and has the latest.
This meeting did not go well. More than half of the families walked out of the meeting held inside the gymnasium only an hour or so into the meeting.
“We’re battling for the lives of our loved ones and we will do what we have to do,“ said Sue Jennings who son lives at the White Haven Center.
Sue and Rich’s 27-year-old son Joey resides at the White Haven Center.. He’s been here for four years. They say if the center closes his life would be placed in jeopardy.
“People are outraged they found the process sneaky and not transparent,“ stressed Sue Jennings.
“It was a philosophical decision. Can you imagine that? The Governor announced his decision this is philosophical with nothing to do with the facility or the quality the month that’s involved. “added Rich Jennings.
The state announced last week that the White Haven Center would close in 2022 and its 112 residents would be transitioned into private facilities.
State Officials argue the move would benefit the residents and save taxpayer dollars.
The 429 employees of the center would be transferred to other state agencies or assisted with help in obtaining employment with private facilities.
Tom Kashutus’ 50-year-old daughter Maria has lived at the White Haven Center for 41 years. He also walked out of the meeting. He and others gathered at the nearby Saint Patrick’s Church to plan their next move. To keep the center open.
“There was a lot of outrage a lot of arguing people were angry” noted Kashatus.