Deaf woman evicted, filing lawsuit against Chestnut Lane
When Lily Hope Rose first moved into an assisted living facility for the deaf in Gresham three years ago, she was told it would be her home for life.
Now she is working on staying off the streets and finding a new home after she said that same facility forced her out after a financial aid mix-up.
"They didn't give me any reason why I am no longer qualified for financial support," Rose said.
In early October, Rose, 63, said she was presented with an impossible scenario. A Multnomah County Aging, Disability and Veteran Services Division case worker stationed at Avamere at Chestnut Lane Assisted Living for the Deaf and Deaf Blind, alongside facility management, allegedly told Rose that through a mistake she had lost the state-backed certification subsidizing her rent. Allegedly, Rose had two options — begin paying the $9,000 rent out of her own pocket or move out.
Rose's financial situation made staying at the facility impossible. So with the support of friends, she moved out and has begun putting together a lawsuit against Avamere at Chestnut Lane, located at 1219 N.E. Sixth St., which she said has been mistreating and abusing vulnerable community members.
"I want everyone to know what is going on at Chestnut," Rose said.
Management at Avamere said their policy is to not discuss any situations involving residents. Multnomah County also does not comment on matters involving individuals' care, though a spokesman explained that to qualify for Medicaid or Long Term Care service benefits, an individual must "meet state-certified eligibility requirements in two main areas: financial eligibility and service need."
Rose, who is deaf and has short-term memory issues, did not know the program subsidizing her rent or what specifically triggered it being taken away. She also did not know the name of her case manager, but said she never should have been disqualified from financial support.
Initially, Rose was told she had to leave by Oct. 15, but was able to extend the deadline to Nov. 1. Her fear of being forced onto the streets was avoided thanks to local friends who are supporting her through the difficult transition.
Dave and Keri Brightman met Rose through their dog walking business in Gresham. Rose connected with the young couple, who she now considers her adopted family, because of her service dog Hadley. Now the couple are keeping Rose safe and on her feet while she searches for a new living situation.
"Imagine if this was happening to your mom," Keri said. "Be careful where you put your loved ones."
Rose is on the waitlist for a Home Forward apartment, but nothing has been secured. She said she tried to work with Chestnut Lane to see if they would allow her to stay longer during her search for new housing, but they allegedly weren't interested in helping.
"Instead of working with me for a few months, they refused," Rose said.
Rose added she does not want to stay at Chestnut Lane any more, citing multiple issues during her three years as a resident. She is vegan, and throughout her time at the facility, through various management groups, she claims it was a struggle to find suitable food options. She also alleged the staff is overworked and undertrained.
Things have allegedly become much worse since the initial Oct. 15 deadline, especially with murmurs of her planned lawsuit echoing in the halls. Rose said staff have been following her and listening to her conversations. They have allegedly stopped providing meals since the 15th, instead requesting daily payments of $15 for food. Rose said she also lost access to medical support services because they no longer consider her a resident.
"The residents are supposed to be the most important thing," Rose said.
According to Rose, similar situations have happened at Chestnut Lane before. She said five residents have faced what she described as unjust evictions.
"Most didn't have the patience or time to fight back," Dave Brightman said.
The Oregon Department of Human Services has several complaints recorded against Avamere at Chestnut Lane. Since the current ownership group, Chestnut Lane Operations, LLC, took over, there have been five allegations filed with DHS since Oct. 22, 2018.
That list does not include open investigations or complaints that are being appealed by the 78-bed facility. Before the current administration, the care facility only had five cases filed with DHS since November of 2015.
Four of the complaints, from October to November in 2018, were substantiated claims of financial abuse, with residents complaining of money and checks being stolen from rooms.
The most recent incident recorded by DHS was on May 4, 2019, which substantiated a claim that Chestnut Lane had failed to provide a safe environment for a client. One of the employees was moving a resident with a lift transfer. That unnamed employee lifted a wheel during the transfer, causing it to tip and the senior falling to the ground. The resident was taken to the hospital suffering from fractures. DHS concluded the facility hadn't provided the proper training, resulting in neglect of care.
According to Multnomah County, eligibility for services, like what Rose was most likely receiving, are frequently re-assessed. Rose has the option to appeal her situation through a hearings process. But for now, she said her focus is on crafting a lawsuit against Avamere.
"This is about civil rights and disabled rights," Keri Brightman said. "We (didn't) have enough time to stop (Rose) from being kicked out, but we are going to fight on her behalf."
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