Reinvestment Fund supported the creation of The Senior Residence at St. Peter the Apostle by financing modest updates to a vacant 17,000 square foot former convent adjacent to the still-operating St. Peter the Apostle church in Bergen County, NJ. The residence will be operated by nonprofit real estate developer Build With Purpose.
The updates, which included wheelchair ramps on the exterior and upgraded bathrooms for hospitability and accessibility, were designed to make the existing facilities suitable for senior living.
Now a 25-unit residence for low- to moderate-income individuals over the age of 62, the facility provides basic services to seniors at a price significantly below most assisted-living homes.
Demand for affordably-priced senior living options in Bergen County is demonstrable. A study by the statewide organization for the aging found that 43 percent of seniors in Bergen County faced expenses that exceeded their incomes. In fact, New Jersey is one of the most expensive states in the nation for elder care, which averages more than $4,800 per month.
Five of the units at St. Peter the Apostle are large enough to accommodate dual occupancy; other amenities include a dining room, shared living and activity room, laundry facilities, a sunroom, and limited parking for residents and guests. The facility also offers a connection to RiverLink, a local transportation service for seniors that provides access to shopping, dining and other destinations.
The Senior Residence at St. Peter the Apostle is designed to serve these seniors with high quality facilities at an affordable price and without needing to directly bill Medicare or Medicaid to support the facility’s finances.
Members of St. Peter the Apostle’s congregation have also demonstrated commitment to the project; volunteers have helped perform upgrades including painting and cleaning, and will provide companionship and organized activities to the residents.
The elder care industry is an area of growing need nationally and locally and one in which there is expected to be significant innovation in coming years. In working with St. Peter the Apostle on this project, Reinvestment Fund will gain experience in this sector and have the opportunity to test important questions, such as how lower income seniors evaluate care and services versus amenities when making decisions about living options.