UNIONDALE, NY –His Eminence Archbishop Geron of America Demetrios officiated on June 10 at the Agiasmos Service of the new building in Uniondale, NY that will function as an extension of the St. Michael’s Home for the Aged.
The archbishop was assisted by Archdiocesan Chancellor His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, also General Director of St. Michael’s, and priests from neighboring parishes.
Steve and Stamatiki Valiotis, great benefactors of the new building – they donated $10 million a few months ago – were present. The new building will be named after them. The Laconian Association of Long Island and Queens under the presidency Theodoros Langis donated $70,000 toward the building’s renovation.
The 11-acre property includes a 90,000 sq. ft. building. Independent and assisted living apartments, as well as dementia and nursing care facilities are planned. The renovation began on June 12.
Bishop Andonios told TNH that“with this property, we enter the most exciting chapter in the history of this wonderful Archdiocesan institution. The need to expand our facilities and services and help even more of our elderly is a sacred mission. This is an enormous undertaking, but with blessings from above and the generous support of the community, we will achieve our vision.”
According to Andonios,“the property was purchased at a cost of $7,000,000, and the complex will include 27 one-bedroom independent living apartments, over 50 private assisted-living bedrooms with private baths, and a unit serving clients with dementia as well as a section with nursing care beds. The Capital Fundraising Campaign will raise funds to pay off the purchase price of the property, as well as completely renovate the current building on the site.
“We are especially indebted to a long-time friend of the Greek Orthodox community, Bishop Murphy of the Rockville Diocese, for his great assistance in making this purchase possible. Because there is also a chapel in the building Bishop Murphy wanted to come to the hands of the Greek-Orthodox.”
The Rockville Centre Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church was the prior owner of the site. The property is close to several parishes of the Archdiocese including St. Paul’s in Hempstead, St. Demetrios in Merrick, and the Church of the Resurrection in Glen Cove.
For many years the facilities housed the St. Pius X Residence for priests, who were involved in administration and teaching at the St. Pius X Prep Seminary, a high school that closed in 1984. Afterward, they were used as a residence for senior and retired priests.
Andonios said that “the renovation project willcost $30 million. Initially, we had estimated the cost to be $25 million, but that was three and a half years ago, but the building material went up. In addition they found a lot of asbestos that will require $500,000 to be removed.The facility was built in the 1960s and during those years they used a lot of asbestos.”
Andonios said the cost per resident will depend on the category. A private room with a bath, for example, costs $4000 per month. He added that no one has been turned away for being unable to pay. There are two cases of residents living there now who have no family and nowhere else to live.
The Archdiocese is not contributing anything to the Home and does not plan to do so moving forward. But why not? Because “we are proud that we have St. Michael’s for 58 years and it is self-sustained, because the Greek-American community supports it and we have never asked the Archdiocese for financial assistance. We all should support this institution because no one knows when he or she will be in need of St. Michael’s Home,” Andonios said.