February 2, 2022
I last wrote an update about Homeward Bound’s activities related to closing the Brooklyn Park facility and opening several smaller homes last January. Recently, the Board of Directors of Homeward Bound decided to reaffirm its decision to close the 32-bed facility. It is a Class B Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled (ICF/IDD) serving adults & children with complex disabilities. A Class B facility means that the individuals who live there cannot evacuate safely in an emergency by themselves. The site opened in 1979 to meet the needs of adults who were no longer being appropriately served at HBI’s New Hope program for children. It is licensed, regulated and funded differently than HBI’s smaller homes. Those are licensed, regulated and funded under Minnesota’s Home & Community Based Services or waiver program.
In February of 2005, after a lengthy period of study conducted by several groups consisting of management, BOD members, and family members, the BOD voted to close the facility. That vote was reflected in HBI’s two five-year strategic plans of 2006—2010 and 2011-2015.
From 2007 onward, management worked for several years to achieve a closure by securing legislative approval and funding for creating several, smaller ICFs/IDD to replace BP. It was unsuccessful in its efforts, chiefly because of state budget deficits related to the 2008 Great Recession. Now it will move to arrange alternative homes for the individuals who live at BP using the Home & Community Based waivered services (HCBS).
Reasons for closure include:
- External philosophical trends reinforce well-accepted principles that non-institutional homes such as those developed under HCBS where individual needs and preferences can be met in a true home-like setting;
- Consistent with these trends, Minnesota and its legislature regard the funding and support of these facilities as an after-thought;
- Without this funding and support, Homeward Bound can no longer meet the increasing health related needs of the residents;
- The workforce crisis has made it increasingly impossible to staff the facility, both the Direct Support Professionals and with nurses;
- As is quite obvious, in a pandemic, large buildings with many residents, staff and visitors are a real challenge to prevent the spread of viruses in the 21st century.
In short, maintaining the program does not make sense for the residents who live there, their families, the staff who work there, or Homeward Bound who runs the operations. Where do we go from here? Homeward Bound is in preliminary discussions with Hennepin County about the timing of such a closure. These types of closures are not easy. There are many hoops to jump through, much planning to be done, and the actual moves take place over several months. But the process of closure is a very person-centered one, where individuals, their families and staff are very involved. It is very likely that the closure project will occur during 2023 or 2023-2024.