Sidwell Friends, the elite Washington D.C. private school attended by President Barack Obama’s daughter and countless other children of the rich and powerful, is buying up an old D.C. nursing home and forcing its patients to find a new place to live.
The Washington Home and Community Hospices facility has over 200 private rooms, serves over 100 Medicaid recipients and offers D.C.’s only inpatient hospice care. Now, though, the facility is being shut down and the property sold off to Sidwell Friends for a whopping $32.5 million.
By buying Washington Home’s property, Sidwell Friends says it will be able to move its elementary school operations from Bethesda, Md. into D.C., thereby merging its two campuses into a single 22.7-acre whole. (RELATED: The School Lunches Malia And Sasha Obama Eat Vs. The Crap Michelle Obama Has Foisted On America)
Washington Home argues that by selling the property it will free up funds needed to finance more productive charitable endeavors. But that’s small solace to the people who used the hospice facility, which Washington Home says it has no plans to replace. Instead, Washington Home, which has struggled with money in recent years, says it will refocus its efforts on in-home hospice care.
According to The Washington Post, Washington Home’s patients and their families are taking their eviction badly, suggesting they are being shoved aside for the benefit of a wealthy school attended by the scions of D.C.’s most powerful families.
“You’ve got the most vulnerable, the poorest, the oldest people — and then you have the 1 percenters that want to come in,” Ivan Mayfield, co-chair of the Washington Home’s family council, told the Post. “You’re coming in and taking away their home from them to build this exclusive campus that costs $40,000 a year for these kids to go to school.”
Patient Thomas Taylor, who has lived in Washington Home for over 20 years, worries that being forced to move could literally kill him or other long-term residents.
“It’s murder to me,” Taylor, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, told the Post. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It definitely will put my health at risk. When you have a lot of weight on you, it makes your health worse. It could be fatal — not only for me, but for a lot of other people in here.”
Escalating their dismay is the fact the sale comes after repeated denials from Washington Home officials, who responded to rumors last May by saying no sale was being considered, and that a sale wouldn’t take place without consulting the family council.
“I don’t think it’s morally right. I think it’s wrong,” Taylor told the Post. “Smile in your face, and turn a knife in your back.”
It’s hardly the first time Obama’s favorite D.C. school has contributed to a debate over poverty and privilege in the nation’s capital. For instance, despite frankly admitting that Sidwell Friends is far better than the D.C. public schools he won’t allow his daughters to attend, Obama torpedoed a D.C. school voucher program that gave the city’s poor improved access to such schools. (RELATED: Malia Obama’s Fancypants College Tour)
Washington Home has tried to deflect criticism by noting that residents have until the end of 2016 to leave, saying this will leave ample time for alternative arrangements to be made.
Sidwell Friends denies responsibility for initiating the sale, saying they were looking at buying other properties when they were approached by Washington Home. But the charity disagrees, saying they were approached by Sidwell Friends first.
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