West Michigan assisted living facility to close in June after not finding enough workers

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A dozen families with loved ones in a Plainwell-based assisted living facility were looking for a new place for them to stay.

The board of the non-profit William Crispe Community Home voted Tuesday, May 19, 2021, to close the facility citing a shortage of qualified workers and financial impacts from the pandemic.

“To make a long story short, we struggled for a number of years there and the pandemic was pretty much the end for us,” said Mark Darrow, president of the home’s board of directors.

The home would officially close the doors on June 11.

Darrow said 12 of the home’s 20 rooms were occupied and almost half of all staff roles were unfilled.

“We’ve tried to hire staff for about a year and half and have not had much luck,” Darrow said.

With repairs to the building needed, and declining revenue, the decision was made to close down.

“Nobody is happy but you don’t want to let the level of care decline,” Darrow said. “That would be even worse, so that’s why the decision was made.”

A consultant report for the state filed summer 2020 showed Michigan had an estimated 34,000 unfilled jobs in the direct care sector, a number that had likely risen during the pandemic due to the high stress and in-person nature of the work.

Data from the Department of Labor also showed in April 2021 that the economy lost almost 20,000 jobs at nursing homes and residential care facilities.

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