More than 50 elderly residents were displaced and about 25 employees lost their jobs when the Garden House assisted-living facility in Conyers was abruptly closed at the end of May after two weeks’ notice.
Former administrator Mike Meyers and a few stalwart staff members scrambled to find homes for all the residents after they received a mysterious letter telling them they had to be out by May 31.
He later learned the business had been paying the rent, but the building’s owners had not been paying the mortgage for the Garden House, formerly called Azalea Gardens, said Meyers. He was informed that the building had already been foreclosed on and is now owned by a bank in Utah.
Meyers, the residents and staff were caught by surprise when a letter dated May 1 bearing his name but not his signature was received by residents around May 15.
“I didn’t even know anything about it,” said Meyers. “My name was on the letter I had no idea about.”
The letter was issued from a north Atlanta post office and postmarked May 14. He normally sends mail from the Olde Town Conyers post office, he said.
The letter read, “Over the last year...the Garden House has struggled to keep its doors open… The increasing cost of health care and the desire to care for people in the community that could not always pay the established rental rates made it next to impossible to keep the doors open.”
However, Meyers said, the business had been increasing and admissions had been picking up.
Janet Johnston, whose husband had been a resident of the Garden House for nearly three years, commended Meyers for his determination to find places and homes for all the residents.
“Mike did do a tremendous job helping to get people placed. In 15 days he got everyone placed,” she said. “A lot of staff just stopped showing up. You had staff working several shifts. I know he’s not getting paid what he was supposed to.”
Meyers commended a few staff members who worked long hours to care for residents and find homes for everyone.
He also credited the assistance of Daniel Edwards at Magnolia House assisted-living facility, which took many of the residents at the rates they were paying at Garden House.
Johnston said she recently had noticed small renovations at the facility, such as a new floor in the dining room and paint.
“It caught everyone totally off guard. I don’t think anyone expected it,” she said.