By Mary O’KEEFE
Twelve Oaks assisted living residents continue to move out of their homes while the owners continue to look for a buyer for the property.
In August, residents were told Twelve Oaks was being shut down and sold. Thus began a firestorm of community concern, disbelief and, in some cases, anger. For about 80 years, Twelve Oaks has been a quiet refuge for seniors; however, owners the be.group decided to sell citing financial reasons and concern for their aging senior community.
Twelve Oaks is located on a property that is surrounded by oak trees. Little cabins pepper the area making it look more like a small mountain resort than an assisted living facility. This is one of the reasons the residents of the Twelve Oaks community are finding it difficult to leave. Twelve Oaks is a special place.
In the 1970s, the National Charity League of Glendale managed the facility through the Verdugo Hills Sunshine Society, whose name was later changed to Twelve Oaks Foundation.
The charity league helped manage the facility until about 10 years ago when they brought in Southern California Presbyterian Homes. SCPH managed it for the NCL of Glendale. The facility was still under the Twelve Oaks Foundation.
Then, 10 years ago, the facility was transferred to SCPH.
“All but four of the [members of the NCL] stepped down from the [Twelve Oaks] Foundation, then [SCPH] stepped in and had majority control,” said Rose Chan, president of NCL of Glendale.
By conducting the matter in this manner, the facility was transferred and no money changed hands in the transition.
In 2011, SCPH changed its name to the be.group and a rebranding campaign began.
Chan said when the transfer happened the expectation of the NCL board was it would remain an assisted living facility.
“[NCL] wanted to keep it going, but didn’t feel past members had the knowledge to run [the facility] the way it should be run,” Chan said.
The news of the closure and sale of the facility came as a surprise to NCL – and a disappointment.
“We were never advised there were financial issues; the only thing we knew was there was a deficit allocation from the rebranding campaign,” Chan said.
She added some of the cost of rebranding appeared to be absorbed by Twelve Oaks.
Chan also said the closure and sale was a surprise because the facility was accepting residents “five to seven weeks before we heard [of the closure].”
be.group spokesman Dan Hutson has said the facility was not up to the standards of the company’s other assisted living properties.
Years ago, those who came to a nursing or assisted living home were in their late 60s and early 70s and were more mobile. Now seniors are in their 90s before coming to a facility like Twelve Oaks and the facility is not suited for those elderly seniors who are less ambulatory, Hutson said.
“Everything is ramped. You can get around in a wheel chair and a walker,” Chan argued. She added people who come to Twelve Oaks know the facility and chose to live in the unique setting.
Hutson has said the sale will continue and the residents are moving out. New Urban West Inc. was interested in buying the property but has since backed out of the deal. The be.group continues to look for a buyer.
The be.group has helped residents find other facilities and helped with the costs of moving, Hutson said.
“We are not focused on the sale of the property now,” he said. “We are [concentrating on] a safe transfer of residents.
Hutson is well aware of the community’s feelings and admitted the company may have made some mistakes in handling the sharing of the information of the sale and closure.
“We should have kept the whole issue of the closing of [Twelve Oaks] separate from the sale of the property,” he said.
Neighbors have voiced concerns about what will happen once November arrives and the property is vacant. If there is not a buyer by that time, the property will be left vacant. Hutson said he is not certain of the details but assured that the be.group would secure the property from vandalism.
In the meantime, Chan, who is also aware of the community concerns, is going to be at the Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting tonight, Thursday at 7 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. Twelve Oaks will be discussed.
“I think the community needs to have its feelings known,” Chan said.