Fact Check: Are there plans to house asylum seekers at a local former nursing home?

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PENFIELD, N.Y. — Are there plans for a second shelter to house asylum seekers in Monroe County? Recently a viewer said he heard a former nursing home in Penfield would be re-opened to take in more migrants.

Hill Haven Rehabilitation and Transitional Care Center sits shuttered on Empire Boulevard. After operating more than 40 years, it closed in 2021. Rochester Regional Health, which operated the nursing home, cited changes in senior living and health care options.

So, is the facility, which was once licensed for nearly 300 beds, now being considered as a shelter space for asylum seekers?

Currently there are 203 asylum seekers staying in 54 rooms at the downtown Holiday Inn — bused in from New York City. There are a mix of 92 adults and 111 children from eight different countries. The hotel had submitted an emergency housing plan with the Monroe County Department of Human Services, which calls for using a total of 72 rooms.

As the Holiday Inn fills up, we reached out to Monroe County to find out if there are plans to use Hill Haven as a second shelter. In an email, a county spokesperson said, “No one has reached out to the county about using Hill Haven as a shelter, and no proposal has been submitted.”

Additionally, RRH sent us this statement: “Rochester Regional Health has not been asked, nor have we made plans to house anyone at the Hill Haven facility. Additionally, there are no plans related to the future of the facility to announce at this time.”

So, when it comes to sheltering migrants at Hill Haven, that rumor is FALSE.

We also checked with the county to see if anyone else has submitted an emergency housing proposal. A spokesperson says there are no other plans under consideration by the county.