Eagles Manor welcomes new director

By: 
DEB HILL
News-Argus Managing Editor
Friday, August 9, 2019
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Eagles Manor board members Gerry Brown (left) and Dick Brown (right) join new Administrator Myya Sheridan at the facility Thursday.

Photo by Deb Hill

Proving there is no such thing as wearing too many hats, new Eagles Manor Administrator Myya Sheridan has found her niche – she does everything. At least everything related to running Eagles Manor, which is quite a lot.

Only a month into her new job, Sheridan is responsible for overseeing quite an operation. Located on Janeaux Street, Eagles Manor offers apartment living for seniors, ages 62 or older, and those with disabilities. 

Of the 58 apartments (a combination of studios and 1-bedroom spaces), 10 are designated for subsidized rent to accommodate those with low incomes. 

The rent includes meals served in the communal dining hall – three meals a day Monday through Saturday, and two meals on Sundays. Also included in the rent is a full-time maintenance man, available to assist with work inside the apartments as well as in the common areas.

As administrator, Sheridan is responsible for promoting the facility, screening potential tenants, hiring and overseeing staff and generally managing day-to-day operations.

“It’s a lot, but I am loving it,” she said. “I have experience in HR [human resources] and housing, so this was a good fit for me. Right now my biggest challenge is just getting to know the residents.”

Sheridan, who moved to Central Montana in 2017, grew up in Wyoming and South Dakota. She has an Associate’s degree in Business from Ashford University, an online college. She also attended culinary school in Boulder, Colorado.  

Her diverse background will no doubt help, when it comes to running the multi-faceted Eagles Manor, as there is much to learn about how the complex operates.

For instance, Board President Dick Brown said, a common misconception is the facility is only open to Fraternal Order of the Eagles members.

“Back in the 1970s when Eagles Manor was built, the Eagles were involved. There were seven of these facilities built across the state. I think only one or two are still going. Back then they used HUD [Housing and Urban Development] funding, which put some requirements on the facility. Once the HUD funding was paid back, we opted to still follow HUD guidelines, which means the facility is open to all.”

Rents are set at what Brown called “market value” for those with means, or subsidized with HUD funding for those on restricted incomes. Brown said he is surprised the facility doesn’t stay fully rented – currently Eagles Manor is only at 60 percent occupancy.

That’s a challenge the board hopes Sheridan will take on.

“I’m using a lot of ways to reach the community and let them know about our facility,” Sheridan said. “Newspaper ads, Facebook, networking through our current residents – my main goal is to get the word out.”

Possibly one reason for the vacancies, Sheridan said, is some people think Eagles Manor is an assisted living facility.

“We only offer independent living,” Sheridan explained. “A few families have hired private caregivers, but we don’t have any on staff.”

Instead, Sheridan said, the facility offers an independent lifestyle with the side benefit of a close-knit community.

“We have a Residents Council that sets up activities, such as dominos, Bingo or other games, or music,” she said. “There is always something going on if a person wants to socialize.”

“But they are free to come and go as they please,” emphasized board member Gerry Brown [no relation to Dick Brown]. “We don’t lock the doors at night; they can go into town or wherever they want.”

On the other hand, if someone doesn’t show up for a meal, staff is instructed to check on them to insure all is okay. If a resident misses two meals, a family member is notified.

“It’s like independent living with a safety net,” Dick Brown said.

Last year saw some updating of the interior of the facility.

“We painted, added lights, updated things,” Dick Brown said.

This year the board hopes to undertake a more extensive renovation, including replacing the 1970s era windows with more energy-efficient models. 

“We are working with the City and Snowy Mountain Development Corporation on getting funding for such improvements,” Dick Brown said.

When the renovation project gets going, hopefully this fall, it, too, will fall on Sheridan’s shoulders, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

“It’s more than just a job,” she said. “Everyone here is like an extended family. I’m happy to be part of it.”

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