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Sweetser announces closure of adult group homes in Bangor and Belfast

Abigail Curtis
In this Feb. 24, 2022, file photo, the sign that marks the entrance to the Sweetser residential facility in Belfast.

Sweetser announced Friday that it's closing its adult group homes in Bangor and Belfast by the end of the year. The decision affects 45 adults with intellectual disabilities in more than two dozen homes.

President and CEO Jayne Van Bramer said Sweetser only recently began operating the homes after the previous provider went bankrupt, and the program loses millions each year.

"I really can't jeopardize our organization's future, our core services, and the nearly 20-thousand clients we serve because of a single program that serves 45 people and operates in the red," she said.

Reimbursement rates haven't kept pace with cost, according to Van Bramer. Even recent state increases to boost wages haven't been enough to attract workers, she said, and as a result, Sweetser has to pay current staff overtime.

The organization is working with the state and other agencies to find new homes for the 45 clients in the program.