Former HUD COO Named CEO of Embrace Living Communities

Affordable senior housing operator Embrace Living Communities named Ralph Gaines as its new CEO.

Gaines comes to Oak Brook, Illinois-based Embrace from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where he spent nearly two years as its chief operating officer. He joined HUD in June 2017. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of beBetterHealth, a health, wellness and fitness startup based in Poca, West Virginia.

During his time at HUD, Gaines was responsible for bringing business solutions to the agency’s strategic initiatives, as well as bridging public and private investment to build sustainable communities.


One of the notable initiatives implemented during his tenure was the release of guidance which, for the first time, opened up HUD Section 202-financed Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs) to private equity sources, providing a much-needed revenue option for communities where maintenance has been deferred, because of Section 202 requirements for base rents and annual rent hikes. The guidance gives nonprofit providers such as Embrace more opportunities to recapitalize these properties and address the deferred maintenance.

Founded in 1895, Embrace owns and operates 34 communities totaling over 3,000 residents in Florida, Illinois and Missouri. The provider is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, and a member of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries.

Last year, Embrace ranked first among small and medium-sized senior housing providers in the Best Workplaces in Aging Services list by Activated Insights, which conducts annual Great Place to Work certifications of employees working in the industry.


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