USA Properties and LifeSTEPS’ RN Coaching PILOT Program earns national award from HUD

Program offers free health care that helps seniors to age in place, improves health and saves money

A pilot program that allows low-income seniors to remain living at affordable senior apartment communities in the Sacramento region and receive much of the medical attention they need just steps from their home for free has earned a national award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

LifeSTEPS and USA Properties Fund’s RN Coaching PILOT Program has received the 2020 HUD Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes, an annual award that recognizes programs that promote healthier housing through partnering, outreach and innovative practices. HUD and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) has recognized only 22 programs since the national award started in 2015, including five programs this year.

“It is heartwarming to receive this award, as in the past we have watched our seniors be prematurely placed in skilled-nursing facilities and this program clearly saves money and returns the dignity to our seniors as they successfully age in place,” said Beth Southorn, Executive Director of LifeSTEPS. “I am so very thankful for our team’s hard work, and I have loved watching early heath intervention help our seniors live longer and happier lives.”

Many residents can ‘age in place’ thanks to program

The RN Coaching PILOT Program is one of the first of its kind in California and helps seniors, many who have health issues and can’t easily get to a doctor, to “age in place,” thanks to an on-site registered nurse who visits their senior communities every week.

“Access to health care is a huge issue for low-income seniors, and having an RN available for residents improves their health, reduces costs, saves time and helps them stay out of the hospital and in their homes longer,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties. “Health is a primary reason why seniors are forced to leave their homes for assisted-living facilities, nursing homes or move in with family members.”

With the RN Coaching PILOT Program, low-income seniors dealing with allergies, a nagging cold or cough, or even chronic conditions – such as arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol or high-blood pressure – are able to get the health care they need at their apartment communities, said Meredith Chillemi, Director of Aging and Education Services for LifeSTEPS. The registered nurse also assists residents with managing their medications, preventing falls in their apartments and navigating the often-complex world of health care, from choosing a new provider to completing confusing insurance forms.

The goal is to keep residents healthy and out of hospital emergency rooms, and help develop a plan for those who are in the hospital to safely return home as soon as possible, Chillemi said. The program helps about three residents return home from the hospital every week.

More than 900 seniors helped, saving Medi-Cal almost $1.2 million

More than 900 seniors have accessed the RN Coaching PILOT Program since it started in spring 2016, saving government health insurance programs like Medi-Cal almost $1.2 million. And the percentage of residents moving out of the apartment communities for health issues has dropped 70% during the past four years.

Aging in place has numerous benefits beyond better health for seniors, from cost savings to keeping them mentally and physically active. Seniors often develop close friendships and social support systems in senior apartment communities, and moving them to an assisted-living facility or skilled-nursing home can cause depression and isolation. Assisted-living facilities can also have a financial hardship on residents, their families, government programs and society overall, according to a Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“The program offers seniors free health care and the opportunity to remain in their apartment communities, where they are close to their friends and often have lived for many years,” USA Properties’ Brown said. “Our residents are happier and healthier, and the program saves money.”

Hands-on training for UC Davis nursing students

Roseville-based USA Properties, one of the largest affordable apartment community developer-builder-managers in the West, and LifeSTEPS, which provides social services at many USA Properties-owned communities, share the cost for the RN Coaching PILOT Program.

The program is available to residents at Sierra Sunrise in Carmichael and Vintage Oaks Senior Apartments in Citrus Heights. USA Properties recently sold Creekside Village Apartments in Sacramento, which had also participated in the pilot program.

The RN Coaching PILOT Program also provides hands-on health care training for nursing students from the Betty Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis. Several nursing students and their nurse adviser have been meeting with patients every week this summer.

USA Properties and LifeSTEPS have been working on finding funding for the program, meeting with elected representatives and health officials during the past few years. A state senator introduced a bill (SB 1292) in February that would have expanded the program to five counties and receive state funding as part of a pilot program. But the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the state’s budget challenges shelved the effort.

“The program has been such a success, in so many ways,” Brown said. “Now, we just need to find the financial support to continue and expand the program to more affordable apartment communities and help more low-income seniors.”

USA Properties, LDK Ventures start construction on The A.J. in Sacramento

Mixed-use project includes studio, one and two-bedroom units in downtown Railyards

LDK Ventures and USA Properties Fund have started construction on The A.J., a mixed-use residential project that will offer 345 residential rental units, 69 of which will be affordable units, and 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The A.J. is the first project at the Railyards to begin construction and is set for completion by Winter 2022.

“From the start, the A.J. has been integral in our vision for the Railyards,” said Denton Kelley, Managing Principal of Downtown Railyard Venture, the master developer of the Railyards. “There has been a voiced need for multifamily housing that has modern amenities, is affordable, and is proximate to Downtown Sacramento. The A.J. fills that void.”

Modern amenities for an urban lifestyle

The A.J. will offer a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units that have been thoughtfully designed to fit an urban lifestyle. Named in honor of A.J. Stevens, who was deemed the father of innovation at the Sacramento Railyards in the late-1800s, the project’s fresh design pays subtle homage to its roots while embracing modern design cues. All apartments will achieve Build It Green gold standard for energy efficiency and include well-appointed finishes, plenty of natural light, and built-in cabinetry.

Residents will also enjoy amenities including a fitness center, pool and spa, dog wash, and a rooftop sky lounge with outdoor grills and fire tables.

Unbeatable location in downtown Sacramento

When completed, the A.J. will span 2.89 acres on the southeast corner of 6th Street and Railyards Boulevard. It will offer immediate light rail and bus access, an abundance of parking, and more than 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail with a mix of neighborhood-serving tenants.

“Not only does this project add to our supply of badly needed affordable housing, it is hugely symbolic as the first housing ever built in the downtown Railyard, which has sat idle for far too long,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “The Railyards is on its way to becoming an extension of downtown with housing, stores, offices and Major League Soccer. Despite the pandemic, our momentum as a city continues.”

The A.J. is also within walking distance of other planned developments at the Railyards, including a Major League Soccer stadium, Kaiser Medical Campus, and the Central Shops District.

Key local and governmental partnerships further progress

The A.J. at the Railyards is a partnership between LDK Ventures, the managing member of Downtown Railyard Venture, and USA Properties Fund, Inc. Significant assistance was provided by the City of Sacramento, the California Department of Housing and Community Development and Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to permit and structure the financing for the $130 million residential project.

“The A.J. shows what is possible with private-public partnerships, and how working together we can help meet the housing needs of residents at a range of income levels,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties Fund. “We’re proud to be part of such a forward-looking project, the first of many that will transform the historic Railyards into a vibrant district.”

As a mixed-income project, with 20% of the units reserved for tenants with an income at or below 50% of the area median income, the project qualified for a tax-exempt bond allocation. This competitive allocation of $85 million was awarded in December 2019. With the aid of this bond allocation, the development team of USA Properties and LDK Ventures was able to secure financing through Citi Bank Community Capital. This financing, along with the Opportunity Zone status of the Railyards, helped make it feasible to raise the accompanying equity and initiate construction of this critical project for downtown Sacramento and the Railyards redevelopment.

To learn more about the Railyards and the A.J., visit www.Railyards.com.

JB Brown Fund, USA Properties congratulate 2020 graduate Victoria Solis

Four scholarships totaling about $11,000 help San Jose resident achieve her dream

College is full of challenges, from choosing a major to getting the classes needed to graduate on time.

Fortunately, the high cost of higher education was not another issue for Victoria Solis, thanks to the JB Brown Fund.

The nonprofit organization awarded Victoria with four scholarships – a total of about $11,000 – during the past two years, paying for her tuition and books.

“I’m very grateful of the opportunity that the scholarship gave me,” says Victoria, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University in spring 2020. I don’t have to worry about any loans and have that financial burden.”

Victoria, who lives with her parents at Mayfair Court Apartments in San Jose, learned about the college scholarship from the community manager. The scholarship allowed Victoria to focus on her classes during the week and work part-time on weekends.

‘You’re not just supporting us financially, you’re helping us reach other goals, too.’

Victoria, who was born with a neuromuscular disease and relies on a wheelchair, graduated in four years. Only 16% of students graduate on time from the California State University system.

“That was something that I really wanted to accomplish,” says Victoria, who carried at least 15 units every semester.

She will take some much-deserved time off during the next year, and plans to return to school and pursue a master’s degree with the career goal of being a licensed counselor. “I always like to help people,” she says.

Much like the hundreds of supporters of the J.B. Brown Fund.

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to pursue higher education,” Victoria says to those who donate to the organization. “You’re not just supporting us financially, you’re helping us reach other goals, too. Thank you for helping us in so many ways.”

USA Properties is one of the fastest-growing companies in Sacramento region

Company finishes at No. 47 on Sacramento Business Journal list

USA Properties Fund is one of the fastest-growing companies in the Sacramento region, landing on a closely watched list by the Sacramento Business Journal.

USA Properties finished at No. 47, with 24% revenue growth between Jan. 1, 2017, through 2019. The privately owned company had revenue of $201.3 million in 2019 – the second-most on the list.

The company added six apartment communities and almost 1,100 units during the three-year period.

Adega Apartments in Rohnert Park
Adega Apartments, a market-rate community in Rohnert Park, CA.

“We’ve enjoyed very solid growth while keeping our never-ending commitment of creating outstanding communities for our residents,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties. “We carefully look at every opportunity and make sure it fits with our strategic growth plan before moving forward.”

Ranked No. 33 on Affordable Housing Finance list

USA Properties, one of the largest apartment community developer-builder-managers in the West, has almost 11,800 units in California and Nevada. The company ranks No. 33 on Affordable Housing Finance’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Finance Owners in the U.S.

The company has expanded from affordable communities into market-rate housing during the past several years.

“We are committed to providing quality apartment communities for Californians, and help meet the tremendous need for more housing in the state,” Brown said. “Every apartment community built – affordable and market-rate – is opening the door to more housing.”

USA Properties hires Tony Piscitello as President of USA Construction Management

Industry veteran succeeds Michael McCleery, who is retiring

USA Properties Fund Inc., one of the largest apartment community developer-builder-managers in the West, has hired industry veteran Tony Piscitello as President of USA Construction Management.

Piscitello, who has three decades of construction management experience, will oversee USA Properties Fund’s multifamily construction efforts, from pre-development and construction to turning over the completed projects to property management. Piscitello succeeds Michael McCleery, the first-ever President of USA Construction Management, who is retiring after 32 years with USA Properties.

Piscitello was most recently Vice President of Construction for Mill Creek Residential Trust LLC, managing the company’s multifamily construction projects in Portland, Ore. Mill Creek develops, builds, acquires and operates market-rate apartment communities from California to Washington, D.C. Before Mill Creek, Piscitello was Senior Project Manager for the Holland Partner Group in Vancouver, Wash., a fully integrated real estate company much like USA Properties.

“Tony has extensive experience in the industry and a long list of impressive projects during his career,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties Fund. “USA Properties will greatly benefit from his knowledge, especially as we expand even more into market-rate communities.”

Piscitello will oversee construction of market-rate and affordable apartment communities

USA Properties, a longtime owner-manager-developer of affordable family and senior apartment communities in California and Nevada, started expanding into market-rate communities several years ago. The company has completed market-rate apartment communities in Northern California and has other affordable and market-rate communities in various stages of development in California.

Piscitello said the opportunity to oversee the development and construction of both affordable and market-rate communities piqued his interest in the position with USA Properties. But the company’s corporate culture and mission were the deciding factor to join USA Properties.

“It’s an opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge,” Piscitello said of building much-needed affordable apartment communities. “I was enamored with the company’s purpose of homes for people. It’s not just about the dollar.”

Piscitello is the latest senior executive to join USA Properties Fund in recent years. April Atkinson, formerly with The Irvine Company, was hired as Executive Vice President of Property Management, in August 2016. Jonathan Harmer, formerly with CV Holdings Inc., joined as Chief Financial Officer in June 2017.

“It’s energizing to be the next generation of leadership at USA Properties,” said Piscitello, a one-time carpenter who later earned his bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. “USA Properties has been very successful in its own right. I just want to help continue that success and contribute to future growth by sharing my experience.”

Michael McCleery to retire after 32 years with USA Properties

Piscitello and the soon-to-retire McCleery will work together for a few more weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

McCleery joined the company in 1988, when USA Properties was building single-family homes but soon moved into affordable apartment communities.

“I was able to take a blank palette and help create something,” McCleery said. Today, the company has about 90 apartment communities and 13,000 units. “USA Properties has gone from a mom-and-pop company into a sophisticated, modern corporation. As the company has changed over time, what hasn’t changed is the belief in the people.”

McCleery also helped start the JB Brown Fund, a grassroots program named after USA Properties’ founder that assists low-income residents at USA Properties-owned and -managed communities to attend college, participate in youth sports or face an unexpected financial challenge.

“It adds value at such a personal level,” McCleery said of the JB Brown Fund. “There is something more important than just the economics of a project. We get to see a lot of life in our properties.”

Geoff Brown, whose father founded USA Properties in Santa Monica in 1981, said McCleery has been instrumental in the company’s success.

“We are very grateful for Michael’s dedication and leadership for so many years,” Brown said. “Michael knows very well the challenges and hard work that was needed to help USA Properties survive and grow in the early days. He has played a critical role in our success and will be greatly missed.”

USA Multifamily Management notice to residents about COVID-19

Due to the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our continued concern for the health and well-being of our residents and employees, USA Multifamily Management has decided to initiate additional measures and changes to the community operations.

USA Multifamily Management is committed to supporting local health officials and government leaders in containing the virus. A way to reduce potential virus exposure is through social distancing. With this in mind we will be temporarily closing community gathering spaces, such as the clubroom, pool/spa, fitness center, computer area, craft room, beauty salon, etc. until further notice. At this time, mailrooms and laundry rooms will remain open.

To further mitigate potential virus exposure our community offices will close to the public beginning March 14, 2020. Our team will continue to be available to you via telephone and email. We will be responding to and following up with all resident emails and voicemails at our earliest availability.

Should the need arise for an in-person office visit, these will occur by appointment only. If you are ill or displaying cold-like systems, we ask that you reschedule your appointment and not utilize the available common areas. We are available to communicate with you via telephone or email.

Emergency repairs only during this period

Temporarily, in-home requests for repairs and service will be limited to emergencies only. In the event of an in-home emergency requiring immediate attention let the office know if you are ill, experiencing cold-like symptoms, or are not feeling well. Below is a sample list of the most common emergencies which you should immediately telephone our office:

  • Fire, water intrusion or concerns of personal safety
  • No heat, water, or electricity that is not the result of utility company shut-off
  • Non-operable smoke detectors, broken windows, broken door locks, etc.
  • Clogged toilet
  • Clogged kitchen sink
  • Appliance failures
  • Lack of heating or air conditioning

Where applicable, food bank distribution programs will be continued, however, social distancing guidelines will be implemented by limiting to no more than 10 residents at a time retrieving their food commodities.

Where applicable, LifeSTEPS services will be provided by appointment only and LifeSTEPS will provide further communication regarding these appointments and after-school programs.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

USA Multifamily Management will continue to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of our residents and employees. As a reminder here are some coronavirus (COVID-19) resources that may help you stay informed and update on simple steps you can take to avoid illness. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website has great information and resources about Coronavirus and answers to frequently asked questions about the virus available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html In addition, the CDC recommends every day preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

We also encourage you to stay informed about Coronavirus (COVID -19) by following updates and advice from the local public health authority in your area.

We are continuing to monitor information from these public health authorities and will follow their guidance in the event of an incident or concern at our community.

USA Properties President Geoff Brown honored for service to Sacramento real estate industry

USA Properties Fund President Geoff Brown recently received the Samuel J. Cullers Outstanding Achievement Award from the Sacramento Chapter of Lambda Alpha International (LAI), recognizing his contributions to the development and real estate community in the region.

“I am very touched to receive the award and be recognized for our impact on the Sacramento region,” said Brown, who joined USA Properties in 1989 and was named president in 1997.

“I am very touched to receive the award and be recognized for our impact on the Sacramento region,” said Brown, who joined USA Properties in 1989 and was named president in 1997.

Much of the company’s fast-paced growth has come under the leadership of Brown – and after USA Properties moved to the Sacramento region in 1993.

USA Properties has become one of the largest affordable apartment community developer-managers in the West and has expanded into market-rate properties during the past few years. Today, the company has almost 90 apartment communities, including 34 in the Sacramento region.

Brown talked about the company’s humble beginnings and its evolution during his speech at the Lambda Alpha International dinner in downtown Sacramento. Brown also discussed the challenges for multifamily developers in California, from fast-rising construction costs to the elimination of redevelopment funds, but also the optimism around the state’s housing goals.

Award named after longtime city and regional planner

The Lambda Alpha International award is named after Samuel J. Cullers, a longtime city and regional planner who was the former Chief of Urban Planning for the State of California and later became Acting Director for the State Office of Planning. Cullers, who died in 2005, is the founding president of the Sacramento Chapter of Lambda Alpha International.

The organization has more than 140 members, a who’s who of community leaders in the region, from architects and attorneys to developers and planners. LAI members are chosen for their professional experience and their commitment to nonprofit organizations in the region.

Brown is active in numerous community organizations, including being a co-founder of the JB Brown Fund, a grassroots organization named after his late-father. The JB Brown Fund has assisted more than 1,000 low-income residents at USA Properties attend college, participate in youth sports or deal with an unexpected financial hardship.

USA Properties president raises more than $140,000 for the JB Brown Fund during Capital Cup

President Geoff Brown’s money-raising effort was among the largest in the golf tournament

A three-day golf tournament could have a lifelong impact on some USA Properties Fund residents.

Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties, participated Sept. 27-29 in the Sacramento Capital Cup, a golf tournament where company executives in the region collect donations for their favorite nonprofit organization and also compete for a share of a $55,000 pot to the winning team.

The Capital Cup raised more than $1.9 million this year, easily exceeding the previous record of $1.4 million in 2018. More than two-dozen nonprofits will benefit from the tournament.

More than $142,000 for the JB Brown Fund

Brown raised almost $134,000 for the JB Brown Fund, an organization that helps low-income residents at many of USA Properties’ affordable apartment communities achieve their dreams or deal with a financial emergency. Company employees, partners, contractors and vendors donated to the JB Brown Fund as part of the tournament.

Brown earned an additional $8,250 as the captain of the 16-player River City Dawgs team, which won the Ryder Cup-like tournament by one point. Overall, Brown raised more than $142,000 for the JB Brown Fund – named after his late father, the founder of USA Properties – during the Capital Cup.

His donations collected were among the largest of the 32 players participating in the Capital Cup. Six golfers, including Brown, raised more than $100,000.

Donations will help change the lives of low-income residents through college, youth sports scholarships

Those dollars will help USA Properties residents attend college, participate in youth sports or get much-needed financial assistance for an unexpected emergency. The JB Brown Fund has awarded more than 260 higher education scholarships and 620 youth sports scholarships, with another 300 residents receiving money for unexpected emergencies, such as new hearing aids or vehicle repairs.

The Capital Cup has raised more than $5.4 million during the first five years, increasing every year. Sixty-five golfers have supported 45 charities during that five-year period.

“The Capital Cup has become the second-largest fundraising event in the Sacramento region,” said Brown during the awards ceremony after the final day of the tournament at the Granite Bay Golf Club. “It’s so much more than a golf tournament. We are changing lives and making a difference, thanks to the players’ fundraising efforts for their nonprofits and everyone who donates.”

The business leaders who compete – and raise funds – for local nonprofits are “golfers second, philanthropists first,” said event organizer and golfer Curt Rocca of DCA Partners.

“This is a very caring and giving community,” said business executive and golfer Roger Akers, Managing Partner of Akers Capital LLC.

Newark Station Senior Apartments open in Bay Area

Affordable rent, central location lures seniors to 75-unit community

USA Properties Fund Inc. has completed a much-needed affordable senior apartment community in Newark, offering low-income residents easy access to numerous amenities and public transportation for about half the rent of nearby properties.

Newark Station Senior Apartments – 37433 Willow Street (at the intersection of Enterprise Drive and Willow Street) — is close to neighborhood shopping centers, a library branch, civic center, senior center and public park. The 75-apartment community is also near the Fremont BART Station, Interstate 880 and Highway 84.

“With the opening of the Newark Station, we now have 75 families housed in a wonderfully new complex and, most importantly, at affordable rates,” said Newark Mayor Alan Nagy. “We have a large demand for housing and we look at Newark Station as the model for additional senior housing in our community.”

A community for low-income residents 55 years and older

Newark Station is for residents 55 years and older who earn 60 percent or less of the median annual income for Alameda County – about $48,840 for one person or $55,800 for two people.

“The Bay Area is a very expensive region to find housing, especially for seniors living on a fixed income,” said USA Properties President Geoff Brown. “We’re glad that we could build an apartment community that helps address some of the need, but the demand for affordable housing – and housing overall – easily outpaces the supply.”

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment at Newark Station starts at $1,033 per month — about $1,400 less than the average rent in Newark, according to RENTCafe. Only 10% of apartments in the city rent for less than $2,000 per month.

Newark has a “large demand for senior housing … and the City Council is committed to providing our share of affordable housing in our community,” Mayor Nagy said. “We were delighted when USA Properties applied to build here.”

IMG 9482 | USA Properties Fund, Inc.

The $21 million Newark Station features a long list of amenities, from a 2,600-square-foot community clubhouse with a full kitchen and computer workstations to a pet-washing area. The four-story building offers controlled access, on-site laundry facilities and a parking space for each unit.

Apartments will feature ceiling fans, pantry cabinets, and either a balcony or private patio. They will also offer energy-efficient light fixtures, Energy Star appliances and low-flow faucets, shower heads and toilets.

‘An excellent example of what can be accomplished when partners come together’

Master developer Integral Communities chose USA Properties for Newark Station Senior Apartments. Integral donated the land and $4 million for the project. Boston Capital and US Bank also partnered with USA Properties on the project.

“Newark Station is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when partners come together and are committed to a project,” Brown said.

USA Properties Fund is one of the largest developer-owner-managers of affordable apartment communities in the West, with about 90 communities in California and Nevada. The Roseville-based company has also entered the market-rate industry, with communities planned in the Bay Area, the Sacramento region and Southern California.

IMG 9494 | USA Properties Fund, Inc.

“California has a tremendous need for more housing, and we are committed to providing quality apartment communities for residents,” Brown said. “With each additional apartment built, affordable and market-rate, we are helping address a critical issue in the state by providing housing to residents.”