The College of St. Joseph in Rutland recently acquire Highland Meadows, a 32-unit building in the downtown area that has been home to many of its residents for nearly 30 years. A number of its residents are senior citizens, with one resident who may be forced to move age 100. The college plans to clear the building of all non-student residents by summer 2019, and plans not to renew some leases while providing extensions to a small number of residents through July.
Residents voiced real concerns with the forced relocations, citing issues from the costs of moving to not being able to find another place to live to losing one’s home of over 25 years.
“That leaves us in a terrible position,” Herman Danielowich, 84, told the college President. “That’s like cutting off your right arm.”
“I don’t want to go to another town,” Janice Aprea said. “I work in Rutland. I don’t want to be driving 30 minutes in the snow. I’m 10 minutes from work. I don’t want to go any further than 10 minutes, but there’s no place that’s 10 minutes from my work that’s even come close to where we are currently.”
Due to requirements set by funding the college received from the federal Rural Development Loan Program, non-students can comprise a maximum of 25 percent of the building’s residents. When asked why the college chose to purchase Highland Meadows rather than construct a new dormitory, President Jensen cited the “drastically lower costs.”