Services anticipated to remain stable
By Jessica Tuggle
SEBASTIAN -- By the River, a nonprofit independent living facility for low-income seniors is now under new management, but its mission will remain constant.
The facility is dedicated to providing a place for low-income and frail seniors outside of a nursing home facility and even though the organizations original funding model wasn't sustainable, a government housing organization will stand in the gap and keep the facility open and running for more than 30 residents, said Bhagavati Hausman, the current president of By the River.
Florida Housing Finance Corporation has made a 12-year commitment to operating the facility as it currently is, including congregate meal plans and other programs and services.
Mr. Hausman said the original financial model left 50 percent of the organizations operating budget at the mercy of donations and fundraisers, and while the community has been supportive, it simply wasn't enough to keep on going.
At this time, Florida Housing has said they will keep current staff in place to run the day-to-day operations. As an operator of the facility, Mr. Hausman said he would be taking a step back, but as an individual, he will continue to spend time with the residents at By the River.
"We are grateful to Florida Housing for coming in with much needed resources, making this a smooth transition and ensuring that everything and everyone will remain the same," Mr. Hausman said. "I personally have developed a relation with all the residents there. When I come in, I know their families, their health conditions. They're really like family to me."
Florida Housing will acquire By the River in a simplified foreclosure proceeding and will assume financial ownership and management, a press release said.
While the financial model may have been flawed, the vision and mission of By the River has definitely been successful, Mr. Hausman said.
The residents have a vibrant living community, have made new friends and have found ways to stay active in their older years, which is exactly what the community's founder, the late Ma Jaya, wanted.
Durga Das Hutner, a founding member, said he was glad Florida Housing was able to continue that vision.
"We will continue to take care of compromised seniors. In a way, nothing will change. We need the resources of Florida Housing Financial Corporation to continue to manifest our vision. We've set something in motion and we will always be looking for ways to help seniors with quality and end-of-life care," Mr. Hutner said in a press release.
For more information about By the River, call (772) 388-5858 or visit www.by-the-river.org.