Assisted-living quarters open soon

Sunday, July 12, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER -- Fifty-eight assisted-living apartments believed to be the first in Kentucky for low- to moderate-income seniors are scheduled to open here on Aug. 1.

Tenants for the new assisted-living apartments must be 62 or older. Individuals can earn no more than $21,000 a year, and couples can earn no more than $24,000 a year.
With virtually no marketing, the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association has commitments for about half of the apartments, which are designed to help seniors maintain an independent lifestyle. The one-bedroom assisted-living apartments for older individuals or couples are under construction at the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association's 21-acre campus at Riggs Avenue and Kenton Lands Road.

Another 60 assisted-living units for Northern Kentucky's low- to moderate-income seniors -- the Panorama Plus Apartments -- are scheduled to open next year in Florence.

"Assisted living is a growing trend nationally, but it's mostly on the high-income scales," said Karen Jones, assisted-living manager for the Kentucky Housing Corporation, a group charged with creating more housing opportunities for the state's low- to moderate-income residents.

Rent for current assisted-living units at the Baptist Village ranges from $1,800 to $2,100 a month. However, tenants of the new apartments, which are being financed with the help of a low interest, $2.91 million loan from the Kentucky Housing Corporation and $1.46 million through a tax credit program of five Northern Kentucky banks, will pay $560 a month.

Developers also hope to get some of the units subsidized through the Section 8 program. Prospective tenants who qualify for the federal rent subsidy program can contact the Covington office of Housing and Urban Development for information.

The Baptist Village campus currently includes 37 apartments for independent living and 19 for assisted living. Twenty condominiums that will allow residents to live independently are under construction this summer, and another 16 will be built next spring, said the Rev. Gary Parker, administrator of the Baptist Convalescent Center in Newport, which is affiliated with the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association.

The association also is seeking approval from the state's Certificate of Need Board to add 100 skilled nursing care beds and 21 personal care beds. The latter is a step between assisted living and skilled nursing care.

"Our initial interest in developing this whole community was to find some alternative ways to deliver care to people in less expensive settings," Mr. Parker said. "When we built this (complex) three years ago, there were a lot of people who said they loved our facility, but they simply couldn't afford it."

All of the new assisted-living units feature pull cords in the bedroom and bathroom to summon emergency help, and a full-time service coordinator will match residents with any needed federal, state or locally funded services, such as Meals on Wheels, or home health services, Mr. Parker said.

Regular transportation also is provided to grocery stores and other spots of interest, and the new wing includes a large, multi-purpose room for dining and other activities.

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