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Heron House mental-health home won't reopen until new year

Florida Keys Keynoter - 12/9/2017

Dec. 09--Residents at Monroe County's only assisted-living facility for those with mental illness may not be able to return until Feb. 1.

The 16 people who lived at the Heron House in Marathon had to be moved to other assisted-living facilities across the state after Hurricane Irma tore through the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 and damaged much of the building, according to Guidance Care Center Director Maureen Dunleavy.

The Heron House, at 1320 Coco Plum Drive, is a place for adults living with persistent mental illnesses and it's one of the Guidance Care Center's many programs.

"So it's definitely a resource in the community, and of course Marathon was heavily hit by the hurricane so we had to relocate the clients to other permanent facilities," Dunleavy said. "They're all over Florida, but we do plan to reopen Heron House hopefully Feb. 1, depending on when we can get all the repairs done."

The building was flooded and needs new air conditioning units and exterior electric repairs along with a generator. The outside patio was damaged as well.

"We're writing grants and doing repairs in hopes we can bring residents back Feb. 1," Dunleavy said, adding volunteer work and donations are always welcome.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219


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