It has come to our attention that a group calling themselves
“Friends of Novo-Diveevo” have been disseminating misinformation.
This group is in no way affiliated
with the Russian Orthodox Convent Novo-Diveevo.
Questions and Answers
on the Closing of the Old Peoples Home
of the Russian Orthodox Convent Novo-Diveevo
It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of the Adult Home due to insurmountable financial difficulties. The ruling body of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Synod of Bishops, carefully considered the matter and made the decision to close. The Department of Health has approved the closure plan, and assigned the official closure date to be March 31, 2021.
We are working with the residents and their families to relocate them to an appropriate facility. We ask for your prayers during this difficult time.
What is happening with the Old Peoples Home (OPH) at the Russian Orthodox Convent (ROC) – Novo-Diveevo?
The OPH will close effective March 31, 2021. This decision was made after much prayerful consideration by the Synod of Bishops and the Board of Trustees of the Convent.
How many residents are impacted by the closing?
Total capacity for the OPH is 76 residents, and the breakeven point is about 60 residents. Since 1999 the number of residents has been in steady decline. As of early 2021 there are 14 residents.
What efforts were undertaken to make up the losses?
When this serious situation was recognized, a number of options were explored in an attempt to rectify the situation. The number of residents was not likely to increase enough to break even, given the condition of the facility. Other uses for part of the building were considered while continuing to operate the OPH. Other similar facilities were visited to gain ideas about how the OPH could be improved. An attempt was made to cut costs without a decline in service. Other ways to supplement OPH income were explored. Advertisements were placed on Russian-language television. Pleas for donations were made to ROCOR parishes and the FFA. Huge donations would be needed annually to collect sufficient funds, but the response to the fundraising campaign was insignificant.
If the Convent has been supporting the OPH for so many years to the point of threatening its own existence, how has the Convent been able to renovate the Cathedral?
The Cathedral is being renovated with moneys donated strictly for the Cathedral renovation. These are called “restricted funds” and by law can only be used for the purpose defined at the time of donation.
The Convent earns its money from sales of cemetery plots (effectively selling off its land), rental income from various cottages on the property and in the village, and donations. Over the years the Convent was able to accumulate savings. As a result of the OPH shortfalls, those funds are nearly depleted, putting the existence of the Convent itself in jeopardy.
Who made the final decision to close the OPH?
After much discussion among the Board of Trustees (which is documented in meeting minutes) and with members of the community, the conclusion was reached that it was appropriate to bring the issue to the Synod of Bishops rather than make this difficult decision ourselves. The bishops asked that the Administration renew its efforts to cut costs, and prayed for wisdom to reach the right answer. After cost-cutting efforts were ineffective, and after time for prayerful reflection, the Synod issued an ukaz or directive recommending closure of the OPH. That recommendation was considered by the Board of Trustees, and a resolution was adopted, unopposed, that the facility should close.
The decision to close was made in February 2020, and since that time, we have been working with the Department of Health to finalize the closure plan. Under DOH regulations, the decision to close was required to be kept confidential until it could be reviewed and approved by the DOH. This process was delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some administrative matters, but approval was granted in a letter dated January 11, 2021. Again, in accordance with DOH regulations, the decision could not be disclosed to anyone until the residents and their families were informed, and this took place on January 20, 2021. At that time, we also informed our employees and invited interested members of the ROC community to a webinar on January 21, 2021 to hear from convent administrators about the decision to close and about the process leading up to the decision.
How will the closing proceed?
The OPH must surrender its operating license to the NY State Department of Health by March 31, 2021. This date was assigned by the DOH, having taken into consideration the safety and well-being of the residents during their transfer to a new facility. Families of residents with the assistance of the OPH administration will identify a new home and make necessary arrangements for the transfer.
Meanwhile, OPH administration will maintain the level of care it provides to its residents, work with the families to ensure there is a new facility for the residents, prepare resident records for transfer to their new facility, and wind-down the OPH operations. The DOH has strict guidelines for the closing of a facility and the transfer of care for the residents. The OPH administration is held accountable to the DOH to adhere to those guidelines.
What will happen to the buildings after the OPH is closed?
Our first concern is to successfully place our current residents in new homes. The OPH buildings are owned by the Convent and are in need of major renovations which will be costly. There are no concrete plans in discussion for possible future uses of the building at this time.
What will happen to the employees?
During our search for cost cutting measures, we met with administrators at several other similar facilities. We learned incidentally that there is steady demand for people with adult home experience. Some of our employees indicated that they might leave the area, and we are confident that others who choose to stay in the area will find jobs at other facilities.
What can the ROC community do for us?
The closing process will not be easy for the residents, their families, employees, administrators, and others. We ask that you remember us in your prayers. We recognize that this decision comes as a shock to many, but it is made after much prayer and thought and with concern for all involved.
An Official Statement from the Russian Orthodox Convent Novo-Diveevo Concerning the Recent Announcement to Close the Old Peoples Home
Old People’s Home of the Russian Orthodox Convent Inc.
100 Smith Road, Nanuet, NY 10954
Telephone: 845-356- 8250
Fax: 845-371- 3717
Convent Office: 845-356-0425