The San Joaquin Valley community of Clovis is addressing a challenge shared by many others in Northern California: an increasing population of low- and moderate-income elders who need long-term care. Some elders already have Medi-Cal insurance and others spend down assets for care and become eligible for coverage. When some elders can no longer obtain this care while living at home or with family, they have very few alternatives.
Almost none of these elders can afford to move into a market-rate assisted living community. For elders with Medi-Cal coverage, the only option in most parts of the Valley is a skilled nursing facility – even if their health does not warrant that level of care. There has been a gap between living more independently with in-home care, and moving into a skilled nursing facility that provides more long-term care than needed. For most elders, there is not a third choice where they could maintain more independence with onsite services that meet their needs. Until now.
Innovative Development and Living Solutions (IDLS), a Clovis-based nonprofit housing developer, saw this need and responded. Founded by Clovis residents Michael and Marisa Sigala, IDLS specializes in addressing the housing needs of seniors. The Sigalas recognized that creating more affordable assisted living communities would require an innovative solution. The result is a new 48-unit, three building project in Clovis that bears the name “Magnolia Crossing.”
“Elders are the foundation of our society and are facing a national health crisis deeply rooted in their housing options,” said Michael Sigala. “From our own family experiences, we saw a need to create a new type of assisted living in a more intimate and home-like environment that was affordable to a broad segment of the community.”
The City of Clovis provided the first round of critical support for this project with an offer to donate a vacant parcel of land if IDLS could obtain financing. The Sigalas then approached NCCLF for help. From the beginning, NCCLF recognized the potential impact of this project and offered a wide range of capital and technical assistance resources. In 2014, NCCLF provided a $50,000 loan for early-stage pre-development expenses. Later, when the need arose, NCCLF provided more funding through a combination of a grant and a forgivable, zero-interest loan through its Community Catalyst Fund.
“NCCLF created the Community Catalyst Fund so that nonprofits with great ideas can pursue them with seed funding for early-stage costs. These expenses are the hardest for finance and often prevent nonprofits from even considering a community-serving project,” said Dan McDonald, NCCLF’s deputy director of lending.
NCCLF’s early-stage funding attracted additional predevelopment financing from Capital Impact Partners and Fresno-based Access + Capital. Following the predevelopment stage, NCCLF’s Consulting Team worked with IDLS to prepare them for accessing New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) financing, which was obtained from NCCLF. Additional financing and Capital Impact Partners, US Bank, the NMTC investor, played a critical role, as did the expertise, generosity and flexibility of the architect, Paul Halajian, the contractor, Quiring General, and the operator, Palm Village.
When completed at the end of this year, Magnolia Crossing will include 24 units for low- and moderate-income elders. Fourteen units will be reserved for Medi-Cal eligible elders through a pilot Medi-Cal program in Fresno County that will pay for health care costs in an assisted living community.
“NCCLF invested so much in this project because we seek out innovative projects that address unmet needs in underserved communities,” said McDonald. “We understood IDLS’s vision and knew that our capital and expertise could help the Sigalas realize their vision every step of the way.”