Twenty-six residents of the Palmerton area assisted living facility, Eastern Comfort Assisted Living facility, 2941 Cherry Hill Road near Parryville, are being kicked out of their residence this week, through no fault of their own.

The residents, many of them with disabilities, will have to be relocated by Friday, because the state Department of Public Welfare has ordered the facility closed because it has repeatedly fafiled to correct health and safety violations dating back to 2008.

It's sad, because a majority of these residents, haven't known any other residency for at least the last decade.

They like the place, they feel comfortable and well taken care of there, despite the numerous infractions the welfare department has charged the facility with.

The closing comes as no surprise. Eastern Comfort has been operating under its second provisional licence for more than a year. And according to DPW, the violations have been occuring repeatedly for two years.

So where will these people go? Hopefully the DPW will be able to relocate them to a place where they will feel equally comfortable. It's important they receive adequate care because many of them are unable to care for themselves.

Steven J. Miga of Bethlehem, the owner, refuses to take personal blame for the conditions of the facility.

He blamed his staff.

"I didn't do nothing," he said in an interview with The TIMES NEWS. "I'm never there. They (staff members) didn't do their job, and now I'm stuck with the problems."

We ask the question of Mr. Miga, why didn't you do anything, and why weren't you there to oversee the operation?

If the facility is in your name, and reflects on your reputation, then why weren't you more of a hands on owner, instead of an absentee landlord?

If staffers weren't doing an adequate job to keep Eastern Comfort in compliance with state regulations, you had an obligation to be there and see that things were done correctly.

You claim your employees "weren't doing their homework". It's obvious you weren't doing your homework either, Mr. Miga, if you failed to recognize what was going on there that would warrant the state placing sanctions on your business.

There are victims here, and Mr. Miga isn't one of them. The 26 residents who called Eastern Comfort home are the ones who are suffering. And the state, and Mr. Miga, have an obligation to see that they find housing that will fit their needs.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com