Senior Living Providers Net At Least $252 Million in Small PPP Loans

Senior living providers across the U.S. received at least $252 million through Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under $150,000.

Assisted living and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) providers in California, Florida and Wisconsin received the most money through the program, according to a Senior Housing News analysis of PPP loan data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The data included loans doled out among providers in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Total PPP loan value by state, not including D.C. or Puerto Rico.
Hover over a state to see the total PPP amount.

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All told, the more than 4,500 loans helped senior living providers cover the payroll expenses of more than 50,000 employees, according to the data.

Senior living was among several long-term care industries that received funds through the loan program. For comparison, home-based care agencies got more than $666 million in small PPP loans, while skilled nursing operators and associated providers received about $165 million.

The $660 billion federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is part of the larger $2 trillion CARES Act coronavirus stimulus package passed in March. Through PPP, businesses across the U.S. accessed hundreds of billions of dollars in the form of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans amounting to 250% of a company’s average monthly payroll costs, or roughly two and a half months’ worth. The initial $350 billion cash pool ran out just days after the program launched in April, and lawmakers approved another $310 billion in funding not long after that.

SHN analyzed the federal data using NAICS codes, which are used by government agencies and businesses in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to classify businesses by economic activity. The initial analysis included PPP recipients that filed with an NAICS code of 623311 or 623312 and received loans of less than $150,000

Recipients of these relatively smaller PPP loans are thought to be generally safe from audits, as both the Treasury Department and the SBA have said businesses borrowing less than $2 million are considered to have made their loan requests in good faith.

Some providers leaned on PPP to stay afloat during the worst days of the pandemic, as did many other businesses across the country. One of those providers was Chicago-based senior housing and care nonprofit Chicago Methodist Senior Services (CMSS), which applied for and received a $2.6 million PPP loan through Wintrust Financial.

“The PPP money really came at a great time,” CMSS President and CEO Bill Lowe told SHN. “We had money for PPE but struggled to procure it.”

But the program has had its share of problems. A study conducted by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that Black business owners had a harder time getting federal aid through the program. And there is evidence that some larger firms received PPP loans but didn’t actually rehire most of the staff they laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, as original PPP loans run out and lead to new layoffs, many owners of small businesses are clamoring for another relief package. A coronavirus relief plan from Senate Republicans released Monday would set up a new round PPP of loans totaling $190 billion, including some leftover funding from the program’s initial run. The proposal also includes a separate relief fund of $100 billion for businesses which are seasonal or located in “low-income census tracts,” according to a Washington Post analysis.

Breaking down the data

States with higher populations mostly led the pack in total financing sent to senior living providers. Providers in California, Florida and Wisconsin netted roughly $29 million, $19 million and $17 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, providers in smaller or less-populated areas, such as Washington, D.C., Rhode Island and Delaware received the least amount of money, taking in just over $83,000, $169,000 and $324,000 in total, respectively.

As for why Wisconsin, a state with just 5.8 million people, netted the third-highest amount in the U.S. is unclear. But it could have something to do with the number of small companies there, according to Michael Pochowski, CEO of the Argentum-affiliated Wisconsin Assisted Living Association.

“Wisconsin has a number of providers with fewer than 500 employees who were likely eligible for the PPP program,” Pochowski told SHN. “I cannot be certain how this compares to other states or if this is in fact why there was a higher total loan value in Wisconsin, but we communicated the opportunity to apply for the PPP program with members early and often, knowing costs related to Covid-19 were increasing rapidly.”

Nationally, PPP loans averaged about $60,000 and covered payroll expenses for an average of about 13 employees at each company.

Some lenders were more successful than others in doling out small PPP loans to senior living providers, and as expected, large national banks led the way. Wells Fargo accounted for 285 small PPP loans to senior living providers, while Bank of America made 189 and JPMorgan Chase Bank made 144 loans, according to the data.

But smaller or less traditional banks made up a good portion of the lenders, too. Online financial technology company Kabbage, Inc. doled out 120 small PPP loans, while Popular Bank — doing business as Banco Popular de Puerto Rico — distributed 41 PPP loans in the U.S. territory.

Despite the added help from PPP and other government lending programs, providers have expressed frustration over a relative lack of government financial support for the senior living industry compared to nursing homes and other health care providers. And there is evidence the public supports that, too: A national survey of likely voters revealed that 80% approve of emergency funds flowing to senior living, according to findings released July 23 by industry association Argentum.

This article was written by Tim Regan based on data analysis and visualization by Aging Media Network senior web designer Kosti Marko.

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