With its reserves down by 80 percent and with the pandemic showing no signs of exiting, The Cambridge Assisted Living is trying to make ends meet on a month-to-month basis, its director says.

Linzi Michel points to the pandemic as having made it more difficult for the facility to take on new residents, which has impacted its coffers.

“The increase in all expenses and costs related to what we have had to do to deal with the pandemic has taken a financial toll on The Cambridge,” she said, later adding that the facility is “barely making enough to cover all of our expenses.”

With a staff of 22 people, The Cambridge is looking for ways to restructure its operations in order to save money. Asked if that involved layoffs, Michel said no.

“It’s just going to be a restructuring of duties,” she said. “We don’t want to go the (layoff) route.”

She added that she did not anticipate The Cambridge closing its doors.

“We are going to try to do everything we can to stay open,” she said. “And I imagine we will. I don’t think anything is imminent.”

It may be necessary to contact both new and past donors in order to keep things afloat, she added.

Given the size of the staff, Michel says she’s reluctant to take on too many new residents, so as to not overwhelm the personnel.

“I don’t want to burden them to the point of exhaustion, because obviously they are already feeling close to that,” she said.

The economic woes did not catch Michel by surprise, she said. What surprised her was how long the pandemic lasted.

“As we maneuvered through the pandemic, we kind of knew as we projected forward that we would face some of these challenges,’ she said. “Probably not at the speed that we have.

Michel said that one aspect that caught them a little unprepared was the lengths to which they would have to go “in order to keep the strong, core employees.

The Cambridge has had to work hard to mitigate the chances of losing these employees to some of the other opportunities that are widely open in other industries or even the healthcare industry, she said.

“That took us somewhat by surprise,” she said. “We weren’t quite prepared.”

The core employees have worked “tirelessly” for the past two years, Michel said. “and I don’t want to lose them and neither do our residents, so we have had to do what we can to keep them, having to remain competitive financially in compensation and that is a struggle for an organization like The Cambridge.”

For the next few months, the most important task will be to start the restructuring and reaching out to possible funding sources, as well as helping the staffing teams provide a good level of care.

Right now, The Cambridge has 32 residents, and “considering very carefully” whether to take on new ones, Michel said.

Asked how she intended to find new money, with a staff already feeling stressed, and having to be very choosy when picking new residents, Michel laughed and said, “Well, I pray a lot.”

“That’s a hard question for me to answer,” she said, before mentioning the possibility of increasing rent rates for incoming residents and existing ones, “without overwhelming them financially,” she added.

Michel says she remains hopeful and optimistic, and says that she predicts that in a year, The Cambridge will have restored at least 50 percent of its reserves. She also anticipated that before too long, The Cambridge would restore some of its pre-pandemic activities which brought people from all walks of life to the facility to entertain and share.

“It may look a little different but we can certainly re-establish it, with the help of our community,” she said.

In the meantime, Michel put a call out for volunteers willing to spend some time with the residents of The Cambridge, and for the community to consider helping the nonprofit’s Employee Compensation Fund, in order to help with the staff’s Christmas bonuses, among other expenses.

“Quincy has always been there for us,” she said.

Join the online forum

Discuss this article with your neighbors or join the community conversation. Powered by our sister paper, The Wenatchee World.