AHEPA Senior Living Closes on $23.5 Million Deal to Build Fifth Iowa Community

FISHERS, IND.— AHEPA Senior Living, a nationwide nonprofit provider of affordable multifamily housing for older adults, is pleased to announce the closing of a $23.5 million agreement on Nov. 30, 2023, to build AHEPA 192 IV Apartments in Des Moines, Iowa, AHEPA Senior Living President and CEO Steve Beck announced.

Ceremonial first shovel dig. Photo credit: Joe Crimmings Creative Media

AHEPA 192 IV will be a three-story, 90-unit affordable senior housing community located on 4.4 acres of the old Southridge Mall site. It will be the fifth Des Moines-area affordable senior housing community managed by AHEPA Senior Living and administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 202 program.

The project’s financing is comprised of a $8.3 million HUD Section 202 capital advance, a $9.4 million low-income housing tax credit allocation, a $1.25 million Polk County Housing Trust Fund award, a $3.7 million HUD 223(f) mortgage loan, and $400,000 from the City of Des Moines.

“Thanks to our financing partners and the support we received from HUD, we will be able to provide much needed additional safe and dignified affordable housing and quality aging services to seniors in Des Moines,” Beck said.

AHEPA Senior Living held a groundbreaking ceremony for AHEPA 192 IV on Aug. 18, 2023.

AHEPA Senior Living operates four affordable senior housing communities in the Des Moines area, totaling 196 units.

AHEPA Senior Living affordable independent living communities offer very low-income older adults, 62 and over, residential apartment-home living with the voluntary supportive services they may need to continue to live independently as they age. Through service coordination, the services may include meal services, case management, transportation assistance, public benefits programs enrollment assistance, fitness and wellness programs, housekeeping assistance, and health services. As HUD Section 202 developments, they are subsidized and provide rental assistance for very low-income seniors.

About AHEPA Senior Living

Serving more than 5,000 older adults across the United States, AHEPA Senior Living is a mission-driven, nationwide provider of affordable independent and assisted senior living communities. Since 1980, it has developed and managed more than 90 affordable senior housing communities in 21 states administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program.

Through its subsidiaries, ASL owns and manages four affordable assisted living communities with 532 units in Indiana.

The mission of ASL is to provide older adults with safe, healthy, and enriching affordable residential communities and quality services that allow them to thrive and enjoy peace of mind.

ASL is based in Fishers, Ind.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: HUD-Assisted Housing and Older Adults

Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves as a wake-up call, spotlighting the pervasive and often hidden world of abuse. It’s a time when we stand in solidarity with survivors and their families, amplifying their voices and experiences. A particularly vulnerable group often overlooked in discussions about domestic violence is the senior community. They have unique challenges and vulnerabilities.

 

Understanding Domestic Violence in the Senior Community

The idea of retirement often paints a picture of tranquility, where the golden years are marked by relaxation, family time, and pursuing long-held passions. It’s an age that many anticipate, expecting it to be without any significant tribulations. Unfortunately, for some seniors this idealized notion is overshadowed by the dark reality of domestic violence.

It’s a common misconception that domestic violence is an issue predominantly faced by younger populations. Unfortunately, older adults are not immune to domestic abuse. According to the Department of Justice, at least 10 percent of those over 65 will experience some sort of domestic violence. The declining physical health, cognitive changes, or even the loss of a partner can make seniors vulnerable targets for abuse.

Within the senior community, the nature of the abuse can be multifaceted:

  • Emotional Abuse: This could be in the form of verbal assaults, threats, or constant belittling, which can be profoundly scarring, especially when coming from loved ones or trusted caregivers.
  • Financial Abuse: Seniors often have to rely on others to manage their finances. This dependency can be exploited by unscrupulous individuals misusing funds, stealing property, or coercing seniors into making undesired financial decisions.
  • Physical Abuse: Physical frailty can make seniors easy targets for physical violence. This could range from slaps and pushes to more grievous bodily harm.

 

VAWA & HUD Protections

Domestic Violence Awareness Month affords us the opportunity to raise awareness and support survivors of domestic violence in accessing and maintaining safe and affordable housing.  As HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge stated, “At HUD, we are committed to ensuring that those who experience sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and human trafficking have immediate access to safe, stable, and affordable housing and do not lose their housing because of the violence.”

At AHEPA Senior Living, we pride ourselves on meeting the Secretary’s commitment by providing safe and dignified affordable housing to older adults that allows them to thrive. The service coordination team is often on the frontline to help residents by connecting them to local domestic violence service providers.

Upon its enactment, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013 significantly expanded housing protections to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking across HUD’s key programs, including the application of regulations all multifamily assisted housing properties, such as HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

Furthermore, as part of VAWA’s most recent reauthorization by Congress in 2022, Congress required HUD to implement and enforce the housing provisions of VAWA consistent with, and in a manner that provides, the same rights and remedies as those provided for in the Fair Housing Act. Therefore, a complaint can be filed with HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) if one’s VAWA’s rights are violated.

Examples of VAWA protections and coverage include non-discrimination, notifications of occupancy rights, and emergency transfers, among others.

It is important to note, however, that HUD and AHEPA Senior Living HUD are not direct service providers and do not provide individual counseling, crisis response, or legal services to individuals who have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and/or human trafficking.

 

It Takes a Community

In a world where instances of domestic violence occur with heartbreaking frequency, the existence of nonprofit organizations like Penelope House provide the lifesaving services survivors and their families require. Known for its relentless dedication, Penelope House has established itself as a sanctuary for domestic violence survivors and their children, offering them the chance to rebuild, recover, and rediscover their inner strength.

That’s why, through our Giving Back program, we are proud to support Penelope House and other domestic violence centers, such as Health Imperatives – Penelope’s Place — with grant funding to help them meet their missions. Their work, although rooted in providing physical safety, extends far beyond that—it’s a holistic approach to healing, encompassing emotional support, psychological recovery, and empowerment.

Our hope is that by supporting organizations such as Penelope House and Penelope’s Place that we can help champion change through a ripple effect that is both widespread and lasting. Together, we not only seek to provide immediate relief and support to survivors but also work toward proactive solutions, community awareness, and preventive measures.

We are also proud to have members of our leadership team actively serving on boards of nonprofits that are providing aid and services to domestic violence survivors.

AHEPA Senior Living Vice President of Human Resources and Training Carol Whiteman serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Beacon of Hope Crisis Center in Indianapolis.

“Awareness is the first step to action in domestic violence. We can all have some piece of being an agent for change,” says Whiteman.

 

Empowerment and Education

Domestic Violence Awareness Month isn’t just about acknowledging the problem; it’s about sparking change. Education is of the utmost importance. We must shed light on the less discussed facets of domestic violence, such as its impact on seniors, to foster understanding and empathy. Equipped with knowledge, communities can become the first line of defense, identifying signs of abuse and offering support.

 

Conclusion

Domestic Violence Awareness Month reminds us of the collective duty we have to protect, uplift, and champion the cause of society’s most vulnerable, regardless of demographics or circumstance. At AHEPA Senior Living, our hope is to inspire unwavering dedication to seniors and support for nonprofit institutions like Penelope House, Penelope’s Place and Beacon of Hope Crisis Center by living as an example for others to follow.

As we navigate through this month, let’s not just be passive observers. After all, in unity there’s strength. And together, we can usher in a world where safety and dignity aren’t the exception but the norm.

If you or a loved one are experiencing domestic violence, please seek help – call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

The Continuing Contributions of Older Americans to Our Communities: AHEPA Senior Living’s Role in Empowering Seniors

Introduction

May is Older Americans Month, when we celebrate older adults’ contributions to our communities. These individuals bring a wealth of experience, wisdom, and inspiration that enrich our lives and strengthen the fabric of society. In recognition of this, we want to highlight the role of AHEPA Senior Living (ASL) in empowering seniors to lead fulfilling, meaningful lives.

 

Contributions of Older Americans

Older Americans make remarkable contributions to our communities in various ways. From volunteering at local organizations to serving as mentors and role models, seniors actively participate in community development and enrichment. Their life experiences, unique perspectives, and diverse skill sets enable them to support and guide younger generations in personal growth and learning. For instance, many older adults volunteer to teach classes, share their expertise in various fields, or engage in community projects that improve neighborhoods, schools, and parks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26.3% of people 65-69 volunteer and 9.4% of people 65 and older volunteer 500 or more hours per year. Their efforts not only affect lasting positive change but also encourage others to get involved and contribute to their communities.

Intergenerational relationships play a crucial role in fostering mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration among people of different ages. When seniors interact with younger generations, they pass on their wisdom, historical insights, and life lessons – many of which aren’t found in textbooks. These exchanges enrich the lives of both seniors and younger individuals, promoting empathy, tolerance, and cultural appreciation.

 

AHEPA Senior Living’s Approach to Empowering Seniors

At ASL, we are committed to providing safe, healthy, and enriching residential communities and quality services that enable our older residents to thrive and enjoy peace of mind. Guided by the Greek spirit of Meraki, our values emphasize attentive relationships with residents and families, proactive and honest communication, and a commitment to service, excellence, and philanthropy in everything we do.

 

Community Engagement and Inclusivity

This year’s Older Americans Month theme is “Aging Unbound.” The theme offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes and how we all benefit when older adults remain engaged, independent, and included.

Community engagement and inclusivity are integral to our residents’ experiences at our properties. ASL communities provide ample opportunities for residents to connect and explore their interests, from cultural celebrations and holiday gatherings to recreational outings and educational workshops. Our seniors actively participate in various events and activities designed to foster camaraderie, learning, and fun. For example, seniors at one of our properties have formed a gardening club, working together to cultivate a beautiful community garden that benefits everyone. In contrast, another property hosts painting classes, where residents can express their creativity and learn new skills.

Our commitment to fostering social connections and inclusivity among residents is rooted in the understanding that solid relationships are vital for seniors’ well-being. Creating a warm and welcoming environment ensures that every resident feels valued, respected, and included. Research has shown that socially connected seniors experience better physical and mental health, improved cognitive function, and a higher quality of life.

 

Lifelong Learning and Personal Growth Opportunities

We believe in the importance of lifelong learning and personal growth for seniors, which is why we offer a variety of educational and skill-building programs across our communities. These opportunities range from music and dancing classes, puzzles and table games, baking classes, knitting classes, and many more opportunities. Our goal is to provide engaging and accessible learning experiences that cater to our residents’ diverse interests and abilities, allowing them to continue discovering new passions and expanding their horizons.

Many of these opportunities contribute to our residents’ growth and fulfillment by stimulating their minds, nurturing creativity, and fostering a sense of accomplishment. By participating in these programs, residents can develop new skills, deepen their understanding of the world, and connect with others who share their interests.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, older Americans play a vital role in shaping and enriching our communities through their diverse contributions, wisdom, and experience. We are committed to empowering these remarkable individuals by providing safe, healthy, and enriching residential communities and quality services that enable them to thrive and enjoy peace of mind.

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, let us recognize and support the seniors in our lives during this month and throughout the year. We encourage you to learn more about AHEPA Senior Living and consider getting involved in your local community to positively impact older adults’ lives. Together, we can ensure that our seniors continue to lead fulfilling, meaningful lives and remain valued members of our communities for years to come. If you or your loved ones have any questions, please contact us!

U.S. Senator Braun Visits Indianapolis Community

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.—U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) visited AHEPA 232 Phases I and II Senior Apartments of Indianapolis, Ind., November 9, 2022.

“We are thrilled to welcome Senator Braun to our affordable senior living community in Indianapolis,” AHEPA Senior Living (ASL) President and CEO Steve Beck said. “We applaud his commitment to Indiana’s older adults, and his interest to learn about our mission to provide seniors with the safe and dignified affordable housing and quality supportive services they need to thrive. We thank Senator Braun for choosing to visit our community and for spending time with our residents, board members, and personnel.”

“What a pleasure it was to get a behind the scenes look at the operations of the AHEPA Senior Apartments in Indianapolis,” Senator Braun said, following the visit. “It was really heartwarming to see such a special group of people operate a fantastic community for Hoosier seniors. Taking care of our elders is an essential piece to ensuring a prosperous society. Thanks for the tour!”

AHEPA 232 Phases I and II are a 122-unit community located at 7355 Shadeland Station Way. It is owned by AHEPA 232, Inc., and managed by ASL, both nonprofits. Angelo Kostarides is the AHEPA 232, Inc., board president.

ASL manages four affordable independent senior living communities in Indianapolis, totaling 272 units, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and local housing boards, we have been delighted to welcome many public officials to our communities, and we are most pleased to welcome Senator Braun,” AHEPA Senior Living Chairman Ike Gulas said. “Celebrating its centennial anniversary, AHEPA is at its heart a service organization comprised of volunteer Greek Americans and Philhellenes who aspire to give back to their communities. Their visits mark a special moment for our mission-driven company, and it contributes to the bold vision of our founders who chose to give back by sponsoring quality affordable housing for seniors.”

In addition to U.S. Senator Braun, ASL has welcomed several U.S. government officials to its communities recently. In May 2022, U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-IN) visited AHEPA 78 VI in Merrillville, Ind. In March 2022, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge, U.S. Reps. Al Green (D-TX), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) toured AHEPA 29 Senior Apartments campus of Houston. Last year, U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) also visited AHEPA 232 Phases I and II in Indianapolis, and the late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) visited Hellenic Senior Living of Elkhart, an affordable assisted living community.

AHEPA Senior Apartments communities offer very low-income older adults over the age of 62 residential apartment-home living with voluntary supportive services they may need to continue to live independently as they age. Through service coordination, the services may include meal services, case management, transportation assistance, public benefits programs enrollment assistance, fitness and wellness programs, housekeeping assistance, and health services.

About ASL

Serving more than 5,000 older adults across the United States, AHEPA Senior Living (ASL) is a mission-driven, nationwide provider of affordable independent and assisted senior living communities. Since 1980, it has developed and manages 87 affordable independent senior living communities in 19 states administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program.

Through its subsidiaries, ASL owns and manages four affordable assisted living communities with 532 units in Indiana.

ASL is based in Fishers, Ind.

PHOTO CREDIT: John Kofodimos