9 seniors relocate after being evicted from assisted living home in Woodstock

·3 min read
Seniors living at the Women's Institute Home in Woodstock in 2019. (David Love/Submitted - image credit)
Seniors living at the Women's Institute Home in Woodstock in 2019. (David Love/Submitted - image credit)

Nine seniors who were evicted from the Women's Institute home in Woodstock have each relocated to a new home.

In March, the nine women living at the assisted living home were told they needed to move because the Women's Institute, the non-profit organization that ran it, couldn't afford to keep it going.

Many of the women forced to relocate are widows and between the ages of 70 and 90.

"It's always upsetting to have to move, but circumstances force things onto people and we just have to go forward," said Holly Hersey, former president of the New Brunswick Women's Institute.

We did what we could, we managed to keep that home open for as long as we did. - Holly Hersey, former president of the New Brunswick Women's

Hersey said the Department of Social Development assessed each of the seniors living at the boarding house and helped place them into new accommodations.

At least one resident moved to Carleton-Place, an assisted living home in Hartland, about 22 kilometres away.

CBC News has contacted the Department of Social Department about the relocation of the eight other seniors and is waiting for a response.

'I'm grieving'

The boarding house officially closed Tuesday and seven staff members who worked at the boarding house will be laid off by the end of the week.

"I'm sad that we had to close the home, I'm grieving," Hersey said.

Volunteers with the nonprofit will also be cleaning out the home on Wednesday. They will be donating items such as food and walkers to the local food bank and the Canadian Red Cross.

The home was losing up to $6,000 a month. At the end of last year, she said, the home was running a $35,000 deficit.

"We did what we could, we managed to keep that home open for as long as we did," she said.

Community disappointed in closure

Hersey said the organization has received a lot of criticism from the community about the closure.

"We have been maligned and criticized and treated like we were public enemies … we're evil, evil, evil people," she said.

Woodstock Mayor Arthur Slipp said he's disappointed in how the closure was handled.

The Women's Institute Home has been sold in Woodstock and the nine seniors living there were forced to move out by June 1.
The Women's Institute Home has been sold in Woodstock and the nine seniors living there were forced to move out by June 1.(Tammy McBride/Submitted)

Slipp said there was a group of citizens trying to find a way to buy the building so it could stay open. He said discussions never took place between the Women's Institute and the group.

"There could've been an alternative arrangement, I believe, with new ownership," he said.

Hersey said the Women's Institute never received an official offer on the house before it was sold in the spring.

'Our work will continue'

The boarding house, in a large 105-year-old house on Chapel Street, has been operated by the Women's Institute since its founding almost 69 years ago.

The house was initially designed for members of the Women's Institute who needed accommodations. In the 1970s, the home started accepting non-members as well.

"Our work will continue," Hersey said. "We will go forward … making things better for families and communities in New Brunswick."

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