Hundreds show up for White Haven Center public hearing

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(WBRE/WYOU) — The desperate fight to save a facility for people with intellectual disabilities continues.

People rallied outside Saint Patrick’s Church in White Haven where the Department of Human Services held a public hearing. Thursday evening’s hearing allowed people to voice their concerns on the planned closure of the White Haven Center. Comments made Thursday will help guide DHS during the transitional process, but for many, that’s not enough.

Tom Kashatus’ daughter has lived at the center for 40 years. He had a message for Governor Tom Wolf.

“Come to White Haven Center and take the tour and see the kind of individuals that are provided services here and the wonderful services they get,” Kashatus said.

“The commonwealth keeps saying all about choice, but they can’t choose to live at home,” Bill Hill, president of AFSCME Local Union, White Haven Center said.

“I implore you to ignore the capricious political trends of Harrisburg and keep White Haven Center open. Thank you very much,” Senator John Yudichak, D-Carbon/Luzerne counties said.

At least 500 people showed up to the meeting and more than 100 spoke. The state plans on closing the center in 2022, saying residents would be better served in private facilities.

The move would cost hundreds of local jobs.

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