ABHOW Spins Off Affordable Senior Housing Division, Plans Development Pipeline

Nonprofit senior housing and health care provider American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW) is expanding its affordable housing footprint through the reorganization of its affordable housing division as Beacon Communities, effective Jan. 1.

A subsidiary company wholly owned by ABHOW, Beacon Communities will focus on meeting the housing needs of seniors with lower incomes and has a a total of 10 development and redevelopment projects in its pipeline for 2015.

Growth of ABHOW’s affordable housing division spurred the spin off, Ancel Romero, president of Beacon Communities, tells SHN.

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“ABHOW’s affordable housing division has doubled in size in the last 10 years,” he says. “The establishment of Beacon Communities will result in a business entity with its own board of directors, to be appointed by the ABHOW board. The move will serve to make such an integral part of ABHOW’s mission and activities even more visible and therefore accountable to its expanding number of stakeholders.”

Beacon Communities will have its own balance sheet, statement of operations and audit, but will continue to be supported by ABHOW’s legal, finance, IT, human resource teams and infrastructure.

“Little will be changed operationally,” Romero says, noting that he will still report to ABHOW CEO and President David B. Ferguson just as he did when he led the ABHOW affordable housing division.

With over $200 million in assets and $27 million in annual revenue, ABHOW’s existing 33 affordable housing communities, being rebranded as Beacon Communities, serve more than 2,500 residents. Beacon Communities is kicking off 2015 with a groundbreaking event for its 33rd community, The Pearl on Oyster Bay in Bremerton, Wash.

Several of the new projects — throughout California, Arizona and Washington — will have Wi-Fi throughout the campus, wheelchair accessible buses for resident use, computer learning centers and a variety of supportive services, such as Meals on Wheels, physician and nurse visits and more.

Beyond its 2015 pipeline, Beacon Communities expects to take on three to five new projects yearly, he says.

To support its growth, Beacon Communities acquired Beacon Development Group, a Seattle-based developer of affordable housing communities.

Beacon Development Group will remain a Washington corporation and continue to serve its clients, says the firm’s founder and president, Paul Purcell in a statement. The firm will also provide development expertise to Beacon Communities for projects in California and other locations as necessary.

“Our alliance is founded on shared values and a common mission to grow affordable housing,” Purcell says. “Together, we’ll be able to expand affordable housing opportunities across the West Coast.”

The need for affordable housing is dire, ABHOW says, adding that, on average, older adults wait between two and five years to move into these communities today.

“The reorganization of Beacon Communities and acquisition of Beacon Development Group is our response to the tremendous need for quality affordable housing,” Ferguson says.

ABHOW serves more than 5,500 residents in 44 retirement communities in California, Arizona, Nevada and Washington.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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