The Courtyard at Lexington in Salem was issued a cease and desist letter by the Ohio Department of Health after a recent inspection found the facility had no license and several deficiencies.

Effective October 1st, the Courtyard at Lexington must decrease its capacity from 23 to no more than two.

"They have never had an assisted living license, so it's right now currently it's an unlicensed operation," said John Saulitis, Director of the Long Term Care Ombudsman program with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio.

During the inspection, ODH discovered the facility had a group home license through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, but it had expired in October of 2019. Among the issues ODH found at the facility was a lack of sufficiently trained or licensed staff for the 23 people living there.

"The Department of Health can't allow an entity, a facility to operate providing care they are not supposed to provide for prolonged periods of time," Saulitis said. "Once they became aware of it and saw the extent of what was going on, they acted quickly."

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio is now helping the residents find new homes.

"This is traumatic," Saulitis said. "We are talking about people being dislocated from their homes, and we have a population here that is predominantly in their 90s and 80s; this is not a younger population."

Saulitis says the good news is there are places available.

"There's availability of space in nursing homes and assisted living facilities nearby in the Salem area, in Columbiana County, and what we find are that the other facilities are offering their assistance to the families, to the residents in terms of processing the paperwork, in terms of picking them up and bringing their furniture and all of those things. There is a very collaborative effort in the area to help these folks," Saulitis said.

21 News reached out to the owners for comment, but they did not return our calls or emails. Because the facility wasn't licensed, there is no appeals process for the owners. We're told they would like to stay open but will have to go through the proper protocols to get a license.

As for the transfer of loved ones, that could take a few days to a couple of weeks. The October 1st deadline is somewhat flexible.