Roxbury residents protest possible closure of 100-year-old neighborhood nursing home

BOSTON — Protests tonight and lots of support in Roxbury’s Mission Hill neighborhood to save the Benjamin Health Center. Locals call it an institution.

“It’s been a minority-owned and run nursing facility for residents of the community,” said Katherine Blicker who was protesting out front.

Families of seventy-seven residents attended a special meeting about the intent to close the nearly 100-year facility on July 1st.

But they left with little more than a list of other nursing homes to call and many unanswered questions.

There’s no answers it’s still up in the air,” said Marcia Brown whose mother has lived here since 2012.

“The whole closure came out of nowhere, it came what 2 weeks ago and they handed people a packet and said here find your family members nursing homes,” said Christal Dunston whose grandmother is a resident.

Outside employees joined residents demanding that city and state officials take a close look at financials including the salary of the facility’s President and CEO Tony Francis.

According to compensation reported on the nursing home’s IRS forms Francis’ salary jumped from $189,435 in 2016 to $628,592 in 2021.

“We want someone to take a look at what our financials are and explain to us what is going on because we don’t know,” said Blicker.

Many hope that despite the odds the home away from home where loved ones have been cared for generations can somehow be saved.

“My mom she’s in a wheelchair now and to just uproot her from where she is - that’s a lot,” said Brown.

The state Department of Public Health will hold a meeting to decide if the closure will move forward.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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