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New placements and continued employment is story for many affected by coastal program closures

Eddie is one of a handful of individuals that relocated from their coastal program to openings at Shangri-La homes in Salem. So far, Eddie is enjoying getting to know his new housemates and is excited about finding employment with a local business.

In early December, Shangri-La announced the closure of its Newport-based residential services. About a month later, it also announced the closure of its Florence residential program and employment and day services programs in Newport. Severe and ongoing staffing shortages in both coastal communities was the primary driver for closing residential programs.

"Without the people needed to appropriately staff these programs, we are unable to provide the quality of services we pride ourselves on. While we have a number of dedicated staff, there are only so many extra shifts we can ask people to fill before burnout happens," explained CEO Janet Yousey.

Furthermore, limited access to medical resources in the Florence community made it hard to continue to serve the individuals at the Florence home. The program's geographic location also made getting the necessary training, supplies, and maintenance services difficult on a consistent and timely basis.

Without coastal residential programs, Shangri-La decided its coastal Life Enrichment Activities Program and Community Employment Services Program were unlikely to remain stable enough to be viable on their own, let alone attempting to cover the overhead of maintaining a coastal office.

Nearly a month has gone by since the coastal services fully concluded on Jan. 28, 2022. New residential placements and on-going employment is the story for many who were affected by the closure.

Residential Closure Update

Staff and program leadership worked diligently during the 30-day closure timelines to find placements for the 17 individuals affected by the closures. Four people moved to Shangri-La programs in Salem, two individuals moved in with family, three remained living independently, and the other 11 individuals were placed with other 24-hour or adult foster providers. Due to the limited providers in the area, most individuals moved out of the area -- some as far north as Portland, others as far south as Grants Pass. Some placements brought individuals closer to family while others, unfortunately, are now farther away from loved ones.

"It was a long and stressful two months for everyone involved, but I have so much gratitude for the employees that worked through the closures and made the last 30-days the best possible month for the people we supported," said Tiffani Olsen, director of the IDD residential program.

Employment Closure Update

Shangri-La, ISN Network, and Vocational Rehabilitation worked collaboratively to secure ongoing job development or job coaching supports for everyone on the caseload. Thirteen individuals supported by the employment program remained in their community job placement. Four individuals retained their jobs without formal job coaching supports, and the other nine are now receiving employment support from Exceed Enterprises. Exceed Enterprises also hired all the employment staff affected by the closure.

"The support, encouragement, and resiliency demonstrated from individuals served, their families and guardians, community employers, and case managers really helped with the continuation of services," explained James Lindekugel, employment services director.



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