Atria Growth in Massachusetts Halted by Town Government
Local Residents Raise Concerns About Affordability, Working Conditions and Resident Safety
Falmouth, MA (Vocus) November 20, 2007
In a stunning defeat for Atria Senior Living, one of the country’s largest assisted living providers, local elected representatives in Falmouth, Mass. refused to change local zoning law to allow for the expansion of the Atria Woodbriar facility (located at 339 Gifford Street) at the annual Falmouth Town Meeting on Tuesday, November 13. Atria operates more than 140 facilities in 26 states. Atria is headquartered in Louisville, KY and owned by an investment fund affiliated with Lazard Ltd., a large Wall Street firm that manages over $140 billion globally.
Representatives of the Campaign to Improve Assisted Living and SEIU Healthcare joined Falmouth Town Meeting members who opposed the expansion. Town Meeting members expressed concern that Atria provides a service that is only accessible to the affluent while providing benefits and wages that leave employees in the ranks of the working poor. In addition, some residents were troubled by Atria’s nationwide record of resident care problems, medication errors, high caregiver turnover rates and mismanagement of renovation projects.
In August 2007, Atria purchased the 20 acre golf course adjacent to their Atria Woodbriar facility for $4.2 million. Atria planned to construct a new facility on that parcel, but needed the town to approve two zoning changes to proceed. Last Tuesday night, the Town Meeting sent a strong message that zoning changes would need to reflect the needs of Town residents before the interests of national companies.
“We know we need senior housing,” said Town Meeting member Peter Waasdorp. “But we need housing that our town residents can afford. With Atria charging up to $90,000 a year, their services are out of reach for all but the wealthiest members of our town. At the same time, Atria pay its workers wages that make it really hard to live in Falmouth. We voted this down because we need our zoning to match the needs of our town, not the needs of Atria.”
SEIU Healthcare represents the over 200 Falmouth residents working at Falmouth Hospital, Cape Cod Hospital and the Marine Biology Lab in Wood’s Hole.
More details are available at www. improveassistedliving. org.
The Campaign to Improve Assisted Living is an SEIU Healthcare campaign that unites assisted living caregivers with residents, family members, and senior advocates to stand for quality services for seniors and a voice on the job for caregivers. More than one million healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and in-home care have united in SEIU Healthcare for quality care and quality jobs.
CONTACT: Jennifer Kelly, 213-401-3321
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