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Some Avamere residents given two months to move

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Some residents of the Avamere of Roswell independent living building on North Kentucky Avenue have the option of moving across the street to the group’s North Pennsylvania Avenue building. But affected residents and caregivers say they have been told there isn’t room for everyone at the Pennsylvania Avenue site. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Management group announces closure of independent living building

Residents of a Roswell independent living facility have been given 60 days to move, according to information from the health care management group and the residents.

Avamere Family of Companies, based in Oregon, announced that it will close the independent living building on North Kentucky Avenue, a year after it and an investment group partner acquired the senior living and nursing facilities from Brookdale Senior Living.

Residents will be required by Nov. 3 to find other housing and care arrangements or move to the company’s Pennsylvania Avenue building, which previously has served as the assisted living and memory care building.

Alex McVay, Avamere regional director of operations, was in Roswell Thursday meeting with residents and their families and caregivers. But he declined to answer media questions. He referred people to an email provided in a company news release.

No response to a list of questions sent to that email was provided by press time.

“Avamere has been informed by the owner group that the Avamere at Roswell independent living building will be closing, and it is with heavy hearts that we deliver this notice of closure to you,” a letter signed by McVay read.

According to the letter, residents can move to the Pennsylvania Avenue building or will be provided an unspecified incentive to move to Avamere at Rio Rancho.

Custis and Sarah Dunn, the relatives of an Avamere at Roswell independent living resident, said packages of information were provided to residents and caregivers about other housing options.

They said that the Pennsylvania Avenue building has about 30 studio apartments available for 46 independent living residents, leaving about 16 without an alternative to remain in Roswell with Avamere.

For those who opt and are able to move to the Pennsylvania Avenue building, the Dunns said, they are not being asked to pay a deposit. But rents for the studio units are about $450 a month more than what was being charged for the one-bedroom unit in the North Kentucky Avenue building.

Moving assistance was not specifically offered, although staff said they would work with individuals on a case-by-case basis to meet needs, the Dunns said.

“I wish that they had done something to soften the blow,” said Sarah Dunn. “This is a fragile population. Some are in their 100s.”

The housing list provided by Avamere shows options as one independent living facility and two affordable apartment complexes in Roswell. Apartments and retirement communities in Artesia, Clovis, Hobbs and Albuquerque are also on the list.

But the director of the independent living home on the list, Peachtree Village Retirement Community, said that there is no available space at the moment.

“We had a waiting list prior to Avamere giving notice yesterday,” said Mary Beth Lawrence. “So we’ve had probably about 30 residents come over here in the past day. And we have put some on a waiting list, but we will not be able to accommodate the 47 apartments that they had.”

She said she hopes that Avamere residents not able to find suitable housing in 60 days will be given extensions on moving.

Another resident, who has lived in the Avamere independent living facility for more than two years, and worked closely with the management group coordinating fitness and exercise activities on a volunteer basis, said that the situation is a sad one for all involved.

“There is sadness for the folks — the owners closing the building — and we are sad that we will have to be leaving,” said Patti Van Dusen.

She said she hasn’t made a decision about what she will do now.

“We were such a happy group and I guess it was financially necessary to make the decision,” she said. “Management has done the best they can to make us as comfortable and help us with this transition. It is not their doing. It is the owners that seem to have made this decision.”

When Avamere and its unnamed investor partner announced the takeover of the Brookdale facilities in September 2018, they also told residents that they were closing the 12-unit rental condominiums on West Mescalero Road. Nine residents in those units were given 60-day notices, with seven choosing to locate to other units within the Avamere facility.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.