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Lemington Home for the Aged d/b/a Lemington Center: The Oldest Continuously Operated African American Sponsored Long Term Care Organization for the Elderly in the United States. At risk of Closing!

PR Web

June 26, 2004

Older couple, enjoying a laugh.


The elderly they serve are the poorest of poor and are dependent on Medical Assistance, which is the state welfare program. Most African American elderly over the age of 70 lack the retirement incomes to pay privately for supportive services which assist them to maintain independence. Just 40 years ago the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, therefore a 70 year old today was 30 in 1964. Many were not permitted to work in jobs that offered retirement benefits until late in their adult lives. 

Ms. Mel L. Causey is the administrator for Lemington Home for the Aged d/b/a Lemington Center, the oldest continuously operated African American sponsored long term care organization for the elderly in the United States. Founded by an African American female, Mary Peck Bond in 1877 and incorporated in 1883, Lemington has faithfully served African American elderly in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania community for more than 127 years! A 501 c3 organization, they operate a 120 bed nursing home in a building that was ill constructed in 1983. Their nursing home is in desperate need of your help!

The administrator shares this story because their facility is in financial distress! In general, the elderly they serve are the poorest of poor and are dependent on Medical Assistance, which is the state welfare program. The services and programs of this historic organization are largely funded by federal, state and local subsidized programs. This is significant because most African American elderly over the age of 70 lack the retirement incomes to pay privately for supportive services which assist them to maintain independence. 

Just 40 years ago the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, therefore a 70 year old today was 30 in 1964. Many were not permitted to work in jobs that offered retirement benefits until late in their adult lives. Many have monthly incomes of $1000 to $1600 a month and women are most negatively impacted. The average monthly cost for an individual in a nursing home in Pennsylvania today is $5,500. With that in mind, today and for the next 20 to 30 years as these individuals age this country will have a significant percentage of African American elderly whom are and will be dependent on subsidized programs. 

African American elderly deserve quality services, accommodations and programs that are reflective of their culture. Their financial situations were created as a result of Jim Crow laws and civil rights discriminations not as a result of a lack of initiative. 

In 2003 the Lemington Home provided $680,541 in charitable care. Charitable care is the difference between what the Medical Assistance program paid us to serve this population and what it actually cost us to care for them. 

The United Way of Allegheny County contributed $206,970 to support charitable care and the Pittsburgh Foundation contributed $121,051 from an endowment held in the homes name. The remaining 352,520 was unfunded charitable care. This kind of loss has been incurred annually and the organization has endured the unfunded amount by not fully funding depreciation. 

If an organization does not fully fund depreciation then there are minimum funds available for capital repairs and replacement. A 21 year old building requires ongoing repairs and replacements.

Currently African American nursing homes through out the country are at risk and many of them have closed! We want to communicate the financial challenges of this organization so as to prevent the closing of the oldest African American sponsored nursing home in the country! 

They have many positive things going for them. Their facility sets on 12 acres of land. We have a satellite office of the University of Pittsburgh, Center for Minority Health, office located on our campus. The first of its kind in the country! They have an 80 unit Housing and Urban Development funded independent living facility on the campus and recently were awarded a grant to construct an additional 44 unit building. They also have a growing community services agency that operates a senior center and soon a southern style home delivered meals program. 

On February 16, 2004, they opened a 32 unit Assisted Living facility in the building that occupies our nursing home. When this occurred the organization became the first African American sponsored long term care organization in the country to have four levels of care and serves for the elderly on one campus, a continuum of care. This is significant, because currently there are no retirement communities in this country that celebrate the African American culture!

All this is an accomplishment, with little resources, but the nursing home portion of this historic organization is at risk! The Board of Directors and Administrative staff members are doing everything possible to reduce cost and secure additional funding. Please they need your help!

Their story needs to be told! Please help them by Calling or writing the President, Senators, Congressmen, Jesse Jackson, actors, entertainers' business executives, athletes and community organizations! The black community needs to accept responsibility and support this unique organization. Their Organization is a model that can and should be available in every major city. The Jewish community has successfully done this and we can do this as well. As the word says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" Psalms 37:25

Feel free to contact the organization for additional information, at 412-441-3700 or email your questions to mcausey@aol.com. Or check out their web site at www.lemington.org.


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