How Embrace Living Communities Keeps Seniors Feeling Right At Home

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Affordable housing is hard to come by, especially for seniors with financial challenges who have concerns about their safety, health, and comfort. At Embrace Living Communities, the mission isn’t just to put a roof over seniors’ heads; instead, the purpose goes much deeper; to offer the senior and disabled population a safe, welcoming, enriching place to call home, while also providing resources that allow them to be proactive about their health and well-being. 

The countless testimonials from residents and staff, coupled with high rankings on reviews prove that Embrace Living Communities is not only fulfilling its substantial mission but exceeding it. Read more about this organization-wide commitment to incomparable affordable housing below: 


Exceeding Real Estate Assessment Center Guidelines 

As a HUD-funded organization, there are certain standards Embrace Living Communities’ 33 properties must meet under the Real Estate Assessment Center’s (REAC) guidelines. This very detailed criterion was designed to ensure federally-funded affordable housing properties are in a well-maintained condition, including specific requirements that cover both the interior and exterior of the buildings. These assessments are conducted at random and housing providers are given minimal notice – a maximum of 14 days – before they take place. If a building performs well on its evaluation, it will receive a high HUD ranking (typically a number above 70) and has to undergo fewer evaluations in the future. On its most recent evaluation, Embrace Living Communities received a score of 93 on the four properties that were selected for evaluation: Greencastle of Englewood I & II and Greencastle of Woodlawn I & II. 

“Obviously, the building should be maintained to a certain standard where it doesn’t make a difference whether or not we’re being notified of the inspection. We have our own standards because we conduct our own inspections throughout the year,” says Isiah Stroud, Manager of Greencastle of Woodlawn I & II.

Team Approach to Meet Guidelines 

These evaluations are rigorous and don’t leave room for any cut corners, so the staff works collaboratively to address all aspects of the properties’ maintenance. Embrace Living Communities’ Director of Plant Operations Ed Havlovic works closely with building staff to oversee updates, ranging from mechanical operations updates to preventative maintenance. The structural property is evaluated from top to bottom, including roofing inspections, checking the boilers are running properly, and even making sure residents’ apartments are up to code – a specific criterion that is weighted especially high and strict within the evaluations. For example, if a single outlet fails to function in an apartment, that entire apartment residence will receive a failing grade. This means managers stay on top of work orders to make sure they’re filled in a timely manner and encourage residents to be vocal about any repairs their apartment may need. 


Upholding Standards in Apartments, Not Just Common Areas

Though managers can’t make residents volunteer information about any issues that may be happening in their apartments, the team at the housing community works together to remind residents and their family members it is their responsibility to help us keep their apartment in the best possible repair.

“We educate the residents on the purpose of these inspections and how much it impacts our funding. It means we have to work cohesively with all the entities involved and we have to be proactive about it,” says Lillian Carter, Manager of Greencastle of Englewood and Orchard Place of Englewood. “If the residents really want to maintain the standard of affordable living that they’re used to, it’s important that they understand what they have to do, along with management, to keep these inspections successful.” 


In the end, all this meticulousness comes down to caring for the residents and providing them with a living environment that functions properly and accommodates their needs. There’s a collective dedication to providing the best customer service to residents that extends throughout the entire organization, as well as to business partners like Clay Johnson Drywall Painting and CMC Construction who work with Embrace Living Community on an ongoing basis to keep the buildings in tip-top shape. Without the caring nationally ranked staff and loyal partners who are willing to go beyond the bare minimum, Embracing Living Communities wouldn’t have the reputation for excellent service it has today.