Growth is something United Church Homes (UCH) is no stranger to. Since 2020, they have added 983 units to their portfolio offering a total of 5,619 apartments to seniors in 79 communities across the country.
Since November 2020, UCH has acquired three middle-income senior housing communities in Ohio: The Brunswick Community, The Niles Community and The Polaris Community. These communities are what Ken Young, Senior Vice President for Strategic Growth and General Counsel described as “a natural expansion of our nonprofit mission.” Young said there is a large need for more middle-income senior housing. “Most senior housing developers have focused on either affordable housing or luxury senior housing, leaving a gap for older adults whose financial means fall between those two categories.” Young expanded that the demographic data indicates this population segment is growing and creating significant demand for the middle-income senior housing product.
He said United Church Homes believes the data presents UCH with the opportunity to pursue acquisitions of new construction development or management of middle-income senior housing locations to meet the demand.
The heart behind UCH’s mission, vision and values is to simply touch lives by helping older adults age abundantly. Acquisitions like these allows UCH to be successful in their mission and provide individuals of this income level essential housing and services. From a business perspective, adding these middle-income properties helps diversify the UCH asset portfolio and reduces reliance on licensed healthcare operations. “The middle-income properties have less legal liability and regulatory risk and less overall operational expenses than licensed healthcare communities,” said Young.
“The UCH Board of Directors and senior leadership team firmly believes that the long-term sustainability of UCH’s mission involves a commitment to growth and innovation in senior living through acquisition, new construction development, partnerships and management opportunities,” explained Young.
“We envision significant growth for the future in UCH’s affordable housing portfolio through development partnerships and growth management services with third party providers,” said Young.
But property acquisition is not the only growth opportunity the company is focusing on. Young went on to say the expansion of senior services across UCH communities was also priority, “growth of our hospice joint venture with Ohio’s Hospice, growth in service coordination and navigation, personal care, population health management services and growth in technology-enabled services for older adults also are on the forefront.”
John Renner, Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Strategy, said the overall goal is to continue growth of independent living service offerings. “Expansion into new service lines (non-healthcare) and investment in technologies to enhance the quality and efficient delivery of services to residents demands that we continuously re-invest in existing markets.” Renner said personal care services, technologies to assist those who want to remain in their own homes as long as possible, pharmacy partnerships and other support services for non-residential communities are other areas of growth the organization is prioritizing.
The senior housing industry is faced with numerous challenges, but Renner said UCH is on track for doubling in size from 2015 within the next three years. “We have the most important ingredient available to meet today’s challenges—excellent front line talent, leadership and a Board of Directors who collectively have an insatiable commitment to maintain sustainability of the UCH mission.” He said through growth by acquisition, coupled with expansion of service lines will allow UCH to thrive into the future.