Hamburg Center closure is baffling
News papers have provided coverage regarding the Commonwealths mandated closure of the Hamburg center. The wisdom of relocating the residents from a center which provides excellent care and offers an array of specialized on site services to a community facility which does not offer such on site services is a bit baffling. Uprooting the residents from a facility they have come to know as home for the majority of their lives will undoubtedly be traumatic. These are subjects which warrant serious debate and discussion but which are beyond the scope of what I want to address.
I am a retiree of the Hamburg Center and since my retirement, I have volunteered at the Center and have visited with the residents. I continue to be well aware of the challenges facing the residents and as a result of my history my comments may be viewed as biased.
In the May 12th edition of the Reading Eagle the article regarding the Center notes that the Di- rector of the Bureau of State Operated Facilities asserts that of the 78 residents living at the Center, 68 have decided to live in a community setting. I was flabbergasted with this outlandish and unsubstantiated statistic. The vast majority of the residents living at the Center are unfortunately afflicted with profound cognitive challenges. Anyone who actually sat down and spoke with the residents would soon conclude that the majority of residents do not understand the ramifications of the closure situation let alone be able to make and express an informed decision regarding their placement which conveniently aligns with the Commonwealth’s intentions. I seriously doubt if any employee of the Hamburg Center or others who have a close personal association with the residents would agree with the director’s dubious statistics.
I understand that as an agent of the Commonwealth, the director is duty bound to advance its interests and agenda so with this in mind I will generously attribute the director’s extremely questionable statistics to naivete, disingenuousness, incomplete investigation or misguided assumptions regarding the actual wishes of the Hamburg Center residents. While I have no doubt that the Commonwealth has its reasons to close the Hamburg Center, do not be misled into believing that the best interests of the clients living there are among those reasons.
Joe Taglieri Pottsville, PA