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Buffalo's Hope Lodge shutting doors in January

Posted at 10:54 AM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 19:54:47-05

The Hope Lodge, run by the American Cancer Society, will be shutting its doors in January, according to a spokesperson for American Cancer Society in Western New York.

Located at 197 Summer Street, the Hope Lodge opened its doors in 1984 and since then, has been serving cancer patients and their families.  The Lodge offers a place to stay for out of town cancer patients who need outpatient treatment and up to two caregivers.

The spokesperson said the decision had "nothing to do with finances" and that American Cancer Society will still be supporting patients in Buffalo, "it will just look different".

In a statement from the American Cancer Society, the organization said it was a difficult decision and the last day of operations will be January 15, 2017.

"While we have had a successful Hope Lodge program, referrals have seen a steady and steep decline during the last three years," the statement said.  "Our occupancy rate is down and on average about 30 percent of the rooms in Hope Lodge go empty.  The limitations of the building itself is part of the issue.  Its age and size make it impossible for us to deliver the standard of care and efficiency necessary for both our guests and donors."

The organization said it will work with local health providers to to find lodging for cancer patients through referrals to other facilities in the area or hotels.  It is "exploring future options" with Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

According to the American Cancer Society, the Buffalo Hope Lodge has provided more than 148,000 nights of free lodging for cancer patients.

According to an employee at the Lodge, he and others working at the home will lose their jobs when the facility is shut down.

Wednesday evening, 7 Eyewitness News received this statement from Roswell Park on Hope Lodge closing:

"We are very grateful for the service that the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge has provided to our patients and families from across state and country, and even from other countries, over many years. The ability for cancer patients or their loved ones to have a home away from home near expert medical care can be an important contributor to both clinical outcomes and emotional wellness for families dealing with cancer. Roswell Park and the American Cancer Society are working closely together during this transition period. We are fortunate to have many lodging and hospitality options in Western New York and will continue to help coordinate these services to meet the needs of our patients and families. To ensure that we have a broad range of extended-stay options, we will work with ACS, Kevin Guest House and the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation to secure and fund free or low-cost lodging for families that need this assistance.”

- Rosa Scrivani, LCSW-R, Director of Psychosocial Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute