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New Collaboration Leads To Health Care Jobs In Detroit

Three nonprofit organizations with a history of innovation and service in Michigan Monday announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration to redevelop a neighborhood, create jobs and fill important health care and living needs for seniors in the City of Detroit.

Henry Ford Health System, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and United Methodist Retirement Communities plan to break ground in May on Phase I of the East Jefferson Neighborhood Project, which is scheduled to open in July 2012.  

The initial phase includes Detroit's first Affordable Assisted Living option and a second location for HFHS' successful Center for Senior Independence.  The CSI program will be a joint venture of HFHS and PVM, and the Affordable Assisted Living will be a partnership of UMRC, PVM, and the National Affordable Housing Trust, and its investor, Huntington National Bank Community Development Corp. It will be built across from the UAW/GM Center for Human Resources just south of Jefferson Avenue – a neighborhood in which there is compelling need for affordable senior housing and senior health services.

The investment expects to create approximately 183 ongoing, new economy health care jobs and more than 350 construction jobs, while providing an expected positive economic investment of $35 million in the next three years The ripple effect across the economy of the Phase I investment will be approximately $250 million over 10 years.   

The East Jefferson Neighborhood Project was awarded a $2 million grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The grant spans two years for the development of the East Jefferson Neighborhood Project, in cooperation with the three partners. The funding was made possible through the Detroit Neighborhood Fund. 

"The Community Foundation's more than $14 million of investments in Detroit's near eastside neighborhoods complement and support this remarkable partnership among three of the region's top providers of healthcare and services to seniors," said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. "Their East Jefferson Neighborhood Project will greatly improve the quality of life of seniors while enhancing the surrounding neighborhoods."

The $2 million investment by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan provided the catalyst for the project, enabling the partner institutions to purchase the necessary property and begin broader fundraising. An economic impact study of the area undertaken by the Community Foundation was also instrumental to the project.

In addition to this grant, the collaboration is working to finalize funding commitments for an initial $24.6 million community investment that includes tax credit allocations, loans, and grants from the State of Michigan, Wayne County and the City of Detroit, and investment by the three partners. 

"There's a great need for a health care resource center to better serve the elderly in the city of Detroit. Our goal is to create a welcoming and innovative place to help seniors live the most fulfilling and healthy lives," said John Polanski, president and CEO for community care services at Henry Ford Health System.

Henry Ford's Center for Senior Independence is part of the national PACE program. PACE, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, provides comprehensive medical and social services to frail, low-income seniors with serious health problems. More than 20,000 people are enrolled in 75 programs in 29 states.

The Center for Senior Independence provides an alternative to nursing home care for frail, elderly people. By bringing together all the care needed, participants are able to remain independent in their own homes and communities. Patients and their caregivers also are provided respite care. The comprehensive care, both medical and social, are provided at the Center and the elder's home, as well as in the hospital or nursing home, when necessary.

For more than 65 years, PVM has served seniors of all faiths and now operates 24 senior living communities in Michigan, including six in the City of Detroit.  PVM serves as the developer of the overall project.

Founded in 1906 in Michigan, UMRC has more than 40 years of experience owning and operating senior citizen housing in the City of Detroit. It was just one of five organizations in Michigan approved by the State to pioneer Affordable Assisted Living and the only one approved for a program in the City of Detroit. In this new collaboration, UMRC is an investor in the project and will also manage the Affordable Assisted Living component. 

Affordable Assisted Living provides below market-rate apartments with home care services, paid for by Medicaid. For people of limited means who have exhausted their financial resources, Affordable Assisted Living allows them to receive services in their home as a much less expensive alternative to a nursing facility.  Currently, no Affordable Assisted Living option exists in the City of Detroit.

"This collaboration came together because, as nonprofit organizations, we are focused exclusively on our missions," said John Thorhauer, President and CEO of UMRC. "Since we do not have to return shareholder value, we could make this investment simply on community need."

Over the next few years, the collaborators plan to expand the project with a second phase that will include affordable independent living apartments, a Green House nursing care home and a neighborhood cafe. Ultimately, the entire East Jefferson Neighborhood Project is expected to serve more than 750 elders each year. 

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