SFCS By Design 2023: Meeting the Mission for Middle America

September 8, 2023

More than 6 million Americans are expected to enter the senior living market in 2023 with less than $65,000 in resources. This simply means they have too much to qualify for government-subsidized housing, but not enough for traditional private pay.

During the 38th annual SFCS By Design conference panel discussion, “Meeting the Mission for Middle America,” Emily Jimerson, Principal at SFCS Architects; Lauren Tilley, Business Operations Leader and Senior Associate at SFCS Inc.; and Kevin Oakley, Director of Seniors Housing at Lument, challenged attendees to not neglect this growing population.

SFCS' Middle Market Playbook, featuring specific recommendations for design, staffing, financing, etc., provides a model for serving middle market seniors.

In short, they agreed, this middle market resonates the By Design conference theme, “Untapped Potential: Exploring New Horizons.”

Nowhere is the untapped potential more evident than in the cost of capital to fund such projects, especially at a time of rising interest rates to combat inflation.

“Thirty states have approved an alternative funding mechanism called CommercialProperty Assessed Clean Energy, or CPACE”, said Oakley. “CPACE is a low-cost financing option that can be acquired at any phase of construction and even be applied retroactively assuming energy sustainability requirements are met.”

Jimerson cautioned attendees against some misconceptions: “Middle market life plan communities are not scaled down facilities; and its demographic comprises a wide range of income levels that do generate cash flow.”

Her advice:

·     Seek out public and private partnerships and be creative

·     Research and publicize the benefits to the parent organization

·     Visit middle market communities that have been successful

·     Have commitment to the concept

“It’s such an underserved market,” Jimerson concluded. “It’s going to take everyone’s brain power to make it work.”

SFCS Managing Principal Melissa Pritchard added: “We spend our careers designing incredible Life Plan Communities, but we are not serving as many seniors as we can. So how can we bring our skills and talents to address this?”

Back To Previous Page