WHITE HAVEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Shock and outrage from families and area state lawmakers with the word Wednesday the White Haven Center will be closed.
That facility is home to more than 100 residents with physical and intellectual challenges. It also employs more than 400 people. Eyewitness News first reported the closing on Twitter just before 11 this morning.
“Well I’m not angry yet but I probably will be later on,” said Tom Kashatus.
Kashatus got word Wednesday morning that the White Haven Center will be closed. His 51-year-old intellectually challenged daughter has been a resident of the center for 40 years. Kashastus met with state representative Gerald Mullery to talk about what can be done to keep the facility open.
The state announced this morning that the White Haven Center and another center in northwestern Pennsylvania will be closed.
“I’m going through a flurry of emotions. First anger. I’m upset that the announcement was made by the administration today and number two concern for the residents their families and the 429 plus employees of the White Haven Center which provides excellent care for the residents who live there, “said Representative Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne County
The state is in the process of closing centers like White Haven and transitions residents to private facilities. They say it’s more cost-efficient for the state and more importantly beneficial to residents.
“This decision was not made lightly and I recognize the significant impact this will have on a resident on their families, the staff of these centers and the Greater Community of Polk and White Haven. This is an opportunity for greater independence for people served in the state centers “said Teresa Miller, Secretary PA Department of Human Services
Mehalshick asked “Is There Any Possibility It Can Remain Open?
Secretary Miller responded: “Today we announced the closing of the White Haven Center so I don’t see a possibility for White Haven center to say open.”
And that is not what one father wanted to hear.
“I fear for the lives of the other residents especially those who have no family no family contact,” noted Kashatus.
| DHS will hold public hearings within 30 days of the closure announcement to accept comment about the closure from stakeholders, |
officials, and the community.
Hearings are scheduled for:
| Polk State Center – Monday, September 9, 1 p.m. – Atlantic Avenue Church, 160 Atlantic Ave., Franklin, PA |
White Haven State Center – Thursday, September 12, 1 p.m. – Hazleton One Community Center, 225 E. 4th St, Hazleton, PA
A toll-free hotline has been established for family members of Polk and White Haven residents who have questions during the closure process.
Family members will be able to speak with staff from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 1.888.565.9435
or by email at RA-PWRAStateCenters@pa.gov.