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Money problems forcing nuns to close Holy Family Home

A Williamsville adult care home, operated for more than a century by the Sisters of St. Francis, is closing, the head of the congregation of Catholic nuns announced Tuesday.

Forty-six residents of the Holy Family Home at 410 Mill St. will be placed into new homes under a closure plan submitted to the state Health Department.

The sisters said they could no longer afford to operate the private, non-profit facility with so few residents.

"It's a sad day for us, but it was something that had to be done before it became a crisis," said Sister Marian Rose Mansius, regional councilor of the Sisters of St. Francis and president of the Holy Family Home board of directors.

Nineteen full-time and 16 part-time employees will lose their jobs.

Residents would be placed in other facilities by mid-December, Mansius said.

The home's board of directors voted unanimously to close the facility after determining that major renovations would cost $10 million to $13 million -- beyond the means of the sisters, who were already subsidizing more than a third of the residents staying in the home.

The home opened in 1902 on Reist Street in Williamsville. Residents were relocated in 1937 to the former St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse at 400 Mill St.

The current home was built in 1962 to accommodate up to 85 residents.

It was full until about five years ago, but occupancy dropped in recent years as frail elderly sought facilities that offer multiple levels of care in a single complex.

The board explored without success the possibility of teaming up with other local health care providers. Board members also examined adding an adult daycare program to keep the facility afloat.

But, said Mansius, "The market here in Amherst is already saturated with that type of facility. We wouldn't have been able to compete."

The congregation has hired a discharge planner to help place residents in new facilities and a human resources professional to help staff find new jobs, said Mansius.

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