Councilmember Heystek Requests City Help for Covell Gardens Residents

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On November 27, the Vanguard reported on Atria Covell Gardens’s increased rents that would raise rent by 8 percent for the second year in a row.

The facility’s executive director, Robert Godfrey cited increased costs as the primary reason for these increases.

“I’m certainly empathetic… But it’s an unfortunate reality to business right now. Lots of people we do business with are now charging us fuel surcharges, for example.”

The Vanguard wrote in its commentary:

While I am empathetic to your cost concerns and understand that you are trying to run a business and make a profit, you also have to understand that you are running a business geared towards seniors. And when you run a business geared towards seniors, you are acknowledging that the residents there are on basically a fixed income. That means that they get only a 2.3 percent increase in their income–not near enough to cover an 8 percent increase, let alone for two years in a row.

When you are a business that relies on seniors for your profits, you have to recognize that the downfall of that market is that you cannot do things the way you would do them in other sectors of the economy. You cannot increase rents by more than their cost of living adjustments. Otherwise, what you will do, is put elderly people on the streets.

Finally, the Vanguard implored the Davis City Council and the City of Davis to step in to protect the vulnerable–and the most vulnerable are people on fixed incomes, some of whom do not have a lot of savings, and many of whom are not in great health.

At Tuesday’s Davis City Council Meeting, Councilmember Lamar Heystek stepped in and did just that.

“I want to talk about an issue that I think all the council has heard about, it’s the issue of the impending rent increases imposed by Atria Covell Gardens on the residents of that assisted living facility on Alvarado Ave. We’ve read about it in the Davis Enterprise, we’ve read about it on the internet, I have received phone calls and I have visited the facility to meet with the residents. Their concerns are very grave.”

For Councilmember Heystek this was an alarming development.

“Their rent increase averages 8 percent across the units and they have reached [as high as] 12 percent. They have experienced a rent increase of 8 percent on average last year.”

“I believe we have an issue that affects our most vulnerable citizens–they are our senior citizens.”

Following the articles last month, the Councilmember has had contact with this in the community on this issue.

“Members of that assisted living community have approached me and asked that I bring this issue to the city council. I do not come with a solution to the problem, I don’t have all the facts. I have tried to contact Robert Godfrey who is the executive director of the Atria Group.”

“I do come with an idea, I believe it is our necessity and our duty to at least consider the problem as presented by the Covell Gardens Residents’ Association and to act accordingly.”

Councilmember Heystek looked first toward a voluntary solution, a means by which to bring the members of the two parties together to have discussion and dialogue through the city’s mediation service. While this approach is voluntary, it has the potential at least to allow the resident to air their grievances and also the management to explain their rationale for the increase and the methodology by which it was created.

“I ask that the city council… request staff to invite both the represents of both the management of Atria Covell Gardens and the Covell Gardens Residents’ Association to engage in the City of Davis’ Community Mediation Service. I believe that this process is fair. It’s a process that is bilateral in nature. It would allow Atria to convey the financial considerations that justify the rent increase, to convey the methodology by which the rent increases of individual units have been calculated. It would allow the residents to provide their testimony to the rent increase in a formal venue mediated by a neutral party. It would allow both parties to negotiate the terms of the rent increase and negotiate terms by which future rent increases could occur.”

This also leaves open the door to other forms of action. However, Mr. Heystek clearly felt impelled to at least attempt to do something to help the situation.

“I believe it is important that we act, people turn to us because they believe we have the power to act. The least we can is ask staff to invite both parties to a fair mediation session. And so I make that request of council and I make that request of staff.”

The council as a whole agreed and thought this was a great idea to take advantage of the services offered in this city and perhaps draw some national attention to this sort of problem.

These rent increases are set to take effect at the first of the year and Councilmember Heystek suggested that if these voluntary efforts are not effective, they ought to consider other avenues to deal with this very serious problem.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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72 thoughts on “Councilmember Heystek Requests City Help for Covell Gardens Residents”

  1. Anonymous

    Moral suasion might provide some temporary relief, but it will not work in the long run. There are two market forces – an aging population driving significant demand combined with growth resistance, which limits supply. The real solution resides on the supply side because the demand is there, it is growing and there is nothing you can do to change it.

  2. Anonymous

    Moral suasion might provide some temporary relief, but it will not work in the long run. There are two market forces – an aging population driving significant demand combined with growth resistance, which limits supply. The real solution resides on the supply side because the demand is there, it is growing and there is nothing you can do to change it.

  3. Anonymous

    Moral suasion might provide some temporary relief, but it will not work in the long run. There are two market forces – an aging population driving significant demand combined with growth resistance, which limits supply. The real solution resides on the supply side because the demand is there, it is growing and there is nothing you can do to change it.

  4. Anonymous

    Moral suasion might provide some temporary relief, but it will not work in the long run. There are two market forces – an aging population driving significant demand combined with growth resistance, which limits supply. The real solution resides on the supply side because the demand is there, it is growing and there is nothing you can do to change it.

  5. Anonymous

    “….there is nothing you can do to change it.”

    WRONG! The concept of Rent Control, while a heresy to Free-Market zealots, remains in the public discourse and currently functions in California.

  6. Anonymous

    “….there is nothing you can do to change it.”

    WRONG! The concept of Rent Control, while a heresy to Free-Market zealots, remains in the public discourse and currently functions in California.

  7. Anonymous

    “….there is nothing you can do to change it.”

    WRONG! The concept of Rent Control, while a heresy to Free-Market zealots, remains in the public discourse and currently functions in California.

  8. Anonymous

    “….there is nothing you can do to change it.”

    WRONG! The concept of Rent Control, while a heresy to Free-Market zealots, remains in the public discourse and currently functions in California.

  9. Anonymous

    Rent control “functions?” Yes, but there is nowhere that it functions well. It dislocates the rental housing market drastically. If in fact Lemar and DPD are proposing rent control, they should be up front about it. Otherwise, there is no role for the city in this dispute other than mediation, and that isn’t binding.

  10. Anonymous

    Rent control “functions?” Yes, but there is nowhere that it functions well. It dislocates the rental housing market drastically. If in fact Lemar and DPD are proposing rent control, they should be up front about it. Otherwise, there is no role for the city in this dispute other than mediation, and that isn’t binding.

  11. Anonymous

    Rent control “functions?” Yes, but there is nowhere that it functions well. It dislocates the rental housing market drastically. If in fact Lemar and DPD are proposing rent control, they should be up front about it. Otherwise, there is no role for the city in this dispute other than mediation, and that isn’t binding.

  12. Anonymous

    Rent control “functions?” Yes, but there is nowhere that it functions well. It dislocates the rental housing market drastically. If in fact Lemar and DPD are proposing rent control, they should be up front about it. Otherwise, there is no role for the city in this dispute other than mediation, and that isn’t binding.

  13. tansey thomas

    Davis should keep this issue in mind when considering future proposals for similar retirement facilities. That is the city’s inability to control or contain the impact of investors or market forces on middleclass housing whether rental or for sale.

  14. tansey thomas

    Davis should keep this issue in mind when considering future proposals for similar retirement facilities. That is the city’s inability to control or contain the impact of investors or market forces on middleclass housing whether rental or for sale.

  15. tansey thomas

    Davis should keep this issue in mind when considering future proposals for similar retirement facilities. That is the city’s inability to control or contain the impact of investors or market forces on middleclass housing whether rental or for sale.

  16. tansey thomas

    Davis should keep this issue in mind when considering future proposals for similar retirement facilities. That is the city’s inability to control or contain the impact of investors or market forces on middleclass housing whether rental or for sale.

  17. legion

    To Anon @ 9:39: Anon @ 9:21 is NOT referring to price increases with “there us nothing you can do to change it”. The first Anon is referring to the INCREASED DEMAND for Senior Housing, because there are more Seniors overall. The only way to reduce that demand is to reduce the number of Seniors, which statistically isn’t going to happen, or make Davis a less attractive retirement area & other cities more attractive, which brings with it a host of other problems. Or you can let rents rise, which will eventually equilibrate supply and demand, and bring in more people to build senior living homes.

    If you want more senior housing, aka to increase supply, the one thing you CANNOT do is use rent controls on the current supply, because that will deter future investors and prevent the future construction of assisted living facilities or elderly homes. If you did use price controls, while it may benefit current residents in the short term, it will in the long run just continue to perpetuate the lack of choices for senior living, and drive up the average price. Additionally, if the City of Davis chose not to rent control all of the apartments, those w/o controls would rise even more, because the investors want the return on their investment.

    And, just fyi, I’m a progressive college student democrat who also likes economics, so don’t try to attack my credentials.

  18. legion

    To Anon @ 9:39: Anon @ 9:21 is NOT referring to price increases with “there us nothing you can do to change it”. The first Anon is referring to the INCREASED DEMAND for Senior Housing, because there are more Seniors overall. The only way to reduce that demand is to reduce the number of Seniors, which statistically isn’t going to happen, or make Davis a less attractive retirement area & other cities more attractive, which brings with it a host of other problems. Or you can let rents rise, which will eventually equilibrate supply and demand, and bring in more people to build senior living homes.

    If you want more senior housing, aka to increase supply, the one thing you CANNOT do is use rent controls on the current supply, because that will deter future investors and prevent the future construction of assisted living facilities or elderly homes. If you did use price controls, while it may benefit current residents in the short term, it will in the long run just continue to perpetuate the lack of choices for senior living, and drive up the average price. Additionally, if the City of Davis chose not to rent control all of the apartments, those w/o controls would rise even more, because the investors want the return on their investment.

    And, just fyi, I’m a progressive college student democrat who also likes economics, so don’t try to attack my credentials.

  19. legion

    To Anon @ 9:39: Anon @ 9:21 is NOT referring to price increases with “there us nothing you can do to change it”. The first Anon is referring to the INCREASED DEMAND for Senior Housing, because there are more Seniors overall. The only way to reduce that demand is to reduce the number of Seniors, which statistically isn’t going to happen, or make Davis a less attractive retirement area & other cities more attractive, which brings with it a host of other problems. Or you can let rents rise, which will eventually equilibrate supply and demand, and bring in more people to build senior living homes.

    If you want more senior housing, aka to increase supply, the one thing you CANNOT do is use rent controls on the current supply, because that will deter future investors and prevent the future construction of assisted living facilities or elderly homes. If you did use price controls, while it may benefit current residents in the short term, it will in the long run just continue to perpetuate the lack of choices for senior living, and drive up the average price. Additionally, if the City of Davis chose not to rent control all of the apartments, those w/o controls would rise even more, because the investors want the return on their investment.

    And, just fyi, I’m a progressive college student democrat who also likes economics, so don’t try to attack my credentials.

  20. legion

    To Anon @ 9:39: Anon @ 9:21 is NOT referring to price increases with “there us nothing you can do to change it”. The first Anon is referring to the INCREASED DEMAND for Senior Housing, because there are more Seniors overall. The only way to reduce that demand is to reduce the number of Seniors, which statistically isn’t going to happen, or make Davis a less attractive retirement area & other cities more attractive, which brings with it a host of other problems. Or you can let rents rise, which will eventually equilibrate supply and demand, and bring in more people to build senior living homes.

    If you want more senior housing, aka to increase supply, the one thing you CANNOT do is use rent controls on the current supply, because that will deter future investors and prevent the future construction of assisted living facilities or elderly homes. If you did use price controls, while it may benefit current residents in the short term, it will in the long run just continue to perpetuate the lack of choices for senior living, and drive up the average price. Additionally, if the City of Davis chose not to rent control all of the apartments, those w/o controls would rise even more, because the investors want the return on their investment.

    And, just fyi, I’m a progressive college student democrat who also likes economics, so don’t try to attack my credentials.

  21. Matt Rexroad

    If you freeze supply you are going to increase the price for that good.

    Don’t control the rent. Let all the people of Davis be taxed in order to lower the financial burden on the seniors.

    The entire community should pay for the planning decisions that have been made. Rent control will only force the impact of planning decisions on one property owner.

    Courts have made it pretty clear that property owners have a right to a fair rate of return on their property. Sometimes that is far more that 2.3%.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  22. Matt Rexroad

    If you freeze supply you are going to increase the price for that good.

    Don’t control the rent. Let all the people of Davis be taxed in order to lower the financial burden on the seniors.

    The entire community should pay for the planning decisions that have been made. Rent control will only force the impact of planning decisions on one property owner.

    Courts have made it pretty clear that property owners have a right to a fair rate of return on their property. Sometimes that is far more that 2.3%.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  23. Matt Rexroad

    If you freeze supply you are going to increase the price for that good.

    Don’t control the rent. Let all the people of Davis be taxed in order to lower the financial burden on the seniors.

    The entire community should pay for the planning decisions that have been made. Rent control will only force the impact of planning decisions on one property owner.

    Courts have made it pretty clear that property owners have a right to a fair rate of return on their property. Sometimes that is far more that 2.3%.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  24. Matt Rexroad

    If you freeze supply you are going to increase the price for that good.

    Don’t control the rent. Let all the people of Davis be taxed in order to lower the financial burden on the seniors.

    The entire community should pay for the planning decisions that have been made. Rent control will only force the impact of planning decisions on one property owner.

    Courts have made it pretty clear that property owners have a right to a fair rate of return on their property. Sometimes that is far more that 2.3%.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  25. legion

    Matt-

    Are you thinking of a tax on the people of Davis, in order to subsidize senior housing, thus allowing for increases in prices and supply of that housing? Say a subsidy to cover the gap between the proposed increases and 2.3%?

  26. legion

    Matt-

    Are you thinking of a tax on the people of Davis, in order to subsidize senior housing, thus allowing for increases in prices and supply of that housing? Say a subsidy to cover the gap between the proposed increases and 2.3%?

  27. legion

    Matt-

    Are you thinking of a tax on the people of Davis, in order to subsidize senior housing, thus allowing for increases in prices and supply of that housing? Say a subsidy to cover the gap between the proposed increases and 2.3%?

  28. legion

    Matt-

    Are you thinking of a tax on the people of Davis, in order to subsidize senior housing, thus allowing for increases in prices and supply of that housing? Say a subsidy to cover the gap between the proposed increases and 2.3%?

  29. Anonymous

    My rent regularly goes up more than 8% a year, and it far outstrips the paltry increase in my pay from a major local employer (care to guess who?). My rent has more than doubled over the past ten years; my income hasn’t come close to that. While I may sympathize with old people, it seems to me that what this story really reveals is that despite the progressive varnish Davis likes to apply to itself, it has become little more than an enclave for the rich.

  30. Anonymous

    My rent regularly goes up more than 8% a year, and it far outstrips the paltry increase in my pay from a major local employer (care to guess who?). My rent has more than doubled over the past ten years; my income hasn’t come close to that. While I may sympathize with old people, it seems to me that what this story really reveals is that despite the progressive varnish Davis likes to apply to itself, it has become little more than an enclave for the rich.

  31. Anonymous

    My rent regularly goes up more than 8% a year, and it far outstrips the paltry increase in my pay from a major local employer (care to guess who?). My rent has more than doubled over the past ten years; my income hasn’t come close to that. While I may sympathize with old people, it seems to me that what this story really reveals is that despite the progressive varnish Davis likes to apply to itself, it has become little more than an enclave for the rich.

  32. Anonymous

    My rent regularly goes up more than 8% a year, and it far outstrips the paltry increase in my pay from a major local employer (care to guess who?). My rent has more than doubled over the past ten years; my income hasn’t come close to that. While I may sympathize with old people, it seems to me that what this story really reveals is that despite the progressive varnish Davis likes to apply to itself, it has become little more than an enclave for the rich.

  33. Anonymous

    The City Council has quite a bit of latitude in implementing social policy through its future development agreements. Electing Council members who are committed to protecting the interests of the seniors rather than investors would be a necessary first step.

  34. Anonymous

    The City Council has quite a bit of latitude in implementing social policy through its future development agreements. Electing Council members who are committed to protecting the interests of the seniors rather than investors would be a necessary first step.

  35. Anonymous

    The City Council has quite a bit of latitude in implementing social policy through its future development agreements. Electing Council members who are committed to protecting the interests of the seniors rather than investors would be a necessary first step.

  36. Anonymous

    The City Council has quite a bit of latitude in implementing social policy through its future development agreements. Electing Council members who are committed to protecting the interests of the seniors rather than investors would be a necessary first step.

  37. Rexroad

    It just seems to me that preventing the business owner from getting a fair rate of return for their property is not the best way to deal with this.

    Davis is making land use decisions that are having impacts on the social fabric of the community. That is their right.

    However, the costs for those decisions should not fall on a few land owners. All the people of Davis should bear that cost. Don’t deny the land owner his profit — tax all the people in Davis to subsidize the housing of the people the community wants to protect.

    It is easy to support rent control. That takes your problem and sticks it on one person — other than you. It is another things to suggest that I am willing to tax myself to support those people I desire to subsidize.

    Councilman Heystek can introduce a measure that will tax all homeowners in Davis to subsidize this program.

    Matt Rexroad

  38. Rexroad

    It just seems to me that preventing the business owner from getting a fair rate of return for their property is not the best way to deal with this.

    Davis is making land use decisions that are having impacts on the social fabric of the community. That is their right.

    However, the costs for those decisions should not fall on a few land owners. All the people of Davis should bear that cost. Don’t deny the land owner his profit — tax all the people in Davis to subsidize the housing of the people the community wants to protect.

    It is easy to support rent control. That takes your problem and sticks it on one person — other than you. It is another things to suggest that I am willing to tax myself to support those people I desire to subsidize.

    Councilman Heystek can introduce a measure that will tax all homeowners in Davis to subsidize this program.

    Matt Rexroad

  39. Rexroad

    It just seems to me that preventing the business owner from getting a fair rate of return for their property is not the best way to deal with this.

    Davis is making land use decisions that are having impacts on the social fabric of the community. That is their right.

    However, the costs for those decisions should not fall on a few land owners. All the people of Davis should bear that cost. Don’t deny the land owner his profit — tax all the people in Davis to subsidize the housing of the people the community wants to protect.

    It is easy to support rent control. That takes your problem and sticks it on one person — other than you. It is another things to suggest that I am willing to tax myself to support those people I desire to subsidize.

    Councilman Heystek can introduce a measure that will tax all homeowners in Davis to subsidize this program.

    Matt Rexroad

  40. Rexroad

    It just seems to me that preventing the business owner from getting a fair rate of return for their property is not the best way to deal with this.

    Davis is making land use decisions that are having impacts on the social fabric of the community. That is their right.

    However, the costs for those decisions should not fall on a few land owners. All the people of Davis should bear that cost. Don’t deny the land owner his profit — tax all the people in Davis to subsidize the housing of the people the community wants to protect.

    It is easy to support rent control. That takes your problem and sticks it on one person — other than you. It is another things to suggest that I am willing to tax myself to support those people I desire to subsidize.

    Councilman Heystek can introduce a measure that will tax all homeowners in Davis to subsidize this program.

    Matt Rexroad

  41. Diogenes

    Matt Rexroad has captured the issue well. For those of you advocating “less than free markets” then you have to be prepared to pay the consequences as a community — ie lower supply = higher housing costs in general, and potentially higher taxes (the subject of another DPD blog this week). City imposed rent control is in place in only very few cities in the country (primarily SF and NYC), each of which have geographically constrained suppply situations. Davis has constrained supply, but only because the citizens have decided that they want to constrain supply. Rent control exists in many low income oriented housing situations, but the owners receive significant tax considerations in exchange for agreeing to control rents. Davis can chose to do the same, but should be prepared for higher taxes — no different than what we are already doing for things like the pass through agreement with the county. We davisites pay higher taxes to control growth that we don’t like.

    The very best rent control for cities like Davis is a free market situation which allows supply and demand to come into balance, allowing investors to earn a fair return, not an exhorbitant one.

  42. Diogenes

    Matt Rexroad has captured the issue well. For those of you advocating “less than free markets” then you have to be prepared to pay the consequences as a community — ie lower supply = higher housing costs in general, and potentially higher taxes (the subject of another DPD blog this week). City imposed rent control is in place in only very few cities in the country (primarily SF and NYC), each of which have geographically constrained suppply situations. Davis has constrained supply, but only because the citizens have decided that they want to constrain supply. Rent control exists in many low income oriented housing situations, but the owners receive significant tax considerations in exchange for agreeing to control rents. Davis can chose to do the same, but should be prepared for higher taxes — no different than what we are already doing for things like the pass through agreement with the county. We davisites pay higher taxes to control growth that we don’t like.

    The very best rent control for cities like Davis is a free market situation which allows supply and demand to come into balance, allowing investors to earn a fair return, not an exhorbitant one.

  43. Diogenes

    Matt Rexroad has captured the issue well. For those of you advocating “less than free markets” then you have to be prepared to pay the consequences as a community — ie lower supply = higher housing costs in general, and potentially higher taxes (the subject of another DPD blog this week). City imposed rent control is in place in only very few cities in the country (primarily SF and NYC), each of which have geographically constrained suppply situations. Davis has constrained supply, but only because the citizens have decided that they want to constrain supply. Rent control exists in many low income oriented housing situations, but the owners receive significant tax considerations in exchange for agreeing to control rents. Davis can chose to do the same, but should be prepared for higher taxes — no different than what we are already doing for things like the pass through agreement with the county. We davisites pay higher taxes to control growth that we don’t like.

    The very best rent control for cities like Davis is a free market situation which allows supply and demand to come into balance, allowing investors to earn a fair return, not an exhorbitant one.

  44. Diogenes

    Matt Rexroad has captured the issue well. For those of you advocating “less than free markets” then you have to be prepared to pay the consequences as a community — ie lower supply = higher housing costs in general, and potentially higher taxes (the subject of another DPD blog this week). City imposed rent control is in place in only very few cities in the country (primarily SF and NYC), each of which have geographically constrained suppply situations. Davis has constrained supply, but only because the citizens have decided that they want to constrain supply. Rent control exists in many low income oriented housing situations, but the owners receive significant tax considerations in exchange for agreeing to control rents. Davis can chose to do the same, but should be prepared for higher taxes — no different than what we are already doing for things like the pass through agreement with the county. We davisites pay higher taxes to control growth that we don’t like.

    The very best rent control for cities like Davis is a free market situation which allows supply and demand to come into balance, allowing investors to earn a fair return, not an exhorbitant one.

  45. Davisite

    Rent Control has been in place in Santa Monica, California for some time now. Serious political consideration of rent control is the most effective “stick” that the electorate has in lowering the profit expectations of developers/investors.

  46. Davisite

    Rent Control has been in place in Santa Monica, California for some time now. Serious political consideration of rent control is the most effective “stick” that the electorate has in lowering the profit expectations of developers/investors.

  47. Davisite

    Rent Control has been in place in Santa Monica, California for some time now. Serious political consideration of rent control is the most effective “stick” that the electorate has in lowering the profit expectations of developers/investors.

  48. Davisite

    Rent Control has been in place in Santa Monica, California for some time now. Serious political consideration of rent control is the most effective “stick” that the electorate has in lowering the profit expectations of developers/investors.

  49. Diogenes

    Los Angeles does have a very weak rent control in some places, as does Chicago, I believe. All of those are much more expensive than Davis, and all have signficant geographic boundaries to deal with. Davis has only self imposed boundaries.

  50. Diogenes

    Los Angeles does have a very weak rent control in some places, as does Chicago, I believe. All of those are much more expensive than Davis, and all have signficant geographic boundaries to deal with. Davis has only self imposed boundaries.

  51. Diogenes

    Los Angeles does have a very weak rent control in some places, as does Chicago, I believe. All of those are much more expensive than Davis, and all have signficant geographic boundaries to deal with. Davis has only self imposed boundaries.

  52. Diogenes

    Los Angeles does have a very weak rent control in some places, as does Chicago, I believe. All of those are much more expensive than Davis, and all have signficant geographic boundaries to deal with. Davis has only self imposed boundaries.

  53. Anonymous

    Legion,
    WOW, a progressive college student democrat that likes economics. I’m sure your years of experience in the real world motivate your statements. No one would ever question your credentials.

  54. Anonymous

    Legion,
    WOW, a progressive college student democrat that likes economics. I’m sure your years of experience in the real world motivate your statements. No one would ever question your credentials.

  55. Anonymous

    Legion,
    WOW, a progressive college student democrat that likes economics. I’m sure your years of experience in the real world motivate your statements. No one would ever question your credentials.

  56. Anonymous

    Legion,
    WOW, a progressive college student democrat that likes economics. I’m sure your years of experience in the real world motivate your statements. No one would ever question your credentials.

  57. Elaine Roberts Musser

    Please note: I am Vice-Chair of the Davis Senior Citizens Commission but speaking as a private citizen.

    The Davis Senior Citizens Commission held its last off-site meeting at Atria Covell Gardens, where more than 60 seniors turned out to tell us their concerns. Uppermost on the minds of residents was the rent increase. Many suggestions were given to these folks by both the commission and Mayor Sue Greenwald, most of which consisted of the advice to “go public” with the issue. Soon afterward, there were Letters to the Editor and a front page article in the Davis Enterprise, as well as an extensive article about the issue on this blog.

    I do think a community dialogue would be useful on this subject, because the issue is far more complicated than anyone realizes. It was discussed at our last Yolo County Commission on Aging & Adult Services meeting. I have also spoken with a marketing agent from Covell Gardens, to get management perspective.

    First of all, residents feel as if they are being “gouged” by two sizeable rent increases over the last two years. However, the contract they signed has no “cap” on rent increases, so management is free to increase rents as they see fit from a legal perspective.

    On the other hand, management has indicated the 8% increase is not an across-the-board rent hike – it depends on when you moved into the facility, and what size unit you have. There is an indication Atria Covell is willing to work with its residents to make sure no senior ends up “on the street without a home”. Seniors facing financial difficulties can be downsized to a smaller unit for instance. As far as management is concerned, or so I was told, they will do whatever it takes so that no one is going to be displaced from Atria Covell Gardens by the lastest round of increases.

    Atria Covell Gardens is also undergoing some major refurbishing such a roof repairs, the reason they are giving for the rent increases, or so I was informed.

    There is also a much larger issue here as well. As a senior grows more frail, the associated costs accelerate at a rapid pace. The senior may start out in an independent living facility, which is what Atria Covell Gardens was originally designed for (that is my understanding from a discussion I was involved with attended by professionals in the field). The frail elder can quickly progress to the need for an assisted living facility, which can turn into a need for a skilled nursing facility fairly fast. However, the greater the level of care, the more costly those services become. Families of loved ones find themselves scrambling to keep up with the needs of a senior as the frail elder begins deteriorating rapidly from a health perspective.

    Changes from a less service oriented facility to a more acute care facility become quite stressful for the senior, and can actually hasten a general decline in health. The money issue can add stress of immense proportion, making matters worse.

    University Retirement Commons was an attempt to solve some of this problem. It represents a continuum of care, so that as the health of the senior declines, s/he can make a smooth transition to another part of the facility. However, that model has its own set of problems (who decides when a resident must go to another part of the facility (it is usually management, who may make a business decision rather than compassionate one)?), and URC is only available to upper income folks.

    To me, one of the real key issues here centers around the original contract that was signed. Too often customers sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print, and don’t think through the ramifications of what they are agreeing to.

    That being said, there are only so many options available. If a senior wants to live near relatives, they have only a limited selection of housing, and sometimes can’t be too choosy. It certainly gives the facilities a much better bargaining position.

    What I am concerned about is the degree to which this issue is becoming politicized. Developers are touting senior housing as the method of choice to get a toe-hold into projects that otherwise might not be approved. Politicians are meeting with residents, but are not necessarily delving beyond the surface and looking at the bigger picture.

    That being said, I think the Atria Covell Residents have done the right thing – by bringing attention to their plight. But I wonder just how involved our City Council will be in really looking at the issue of senior housing from a broader perspective? It has to be carefully planned and executed, as DPD has suggested – so that seniors are not caught up in the inflation spiral that their cost of living increase cannot address.

    Is rent control the best option? Or do we need more senior housing? If so, what type? Facilities, or independent cottages? How about affordable housing for seniors? Eleanor Roosevelt Circle was an attempt at offering a different model, by offering mixed income senior housing. Unfortunately it is not what seniors wanted. In the end, it has resulted in a mostly low income facility.

    We are dealing with huge issues, of great magnitude, that have no easy solutions and are expensive to implement. You have to think things through very carefully – whereas a knee-jerk reaction can be problematic.

  58. Elaine Roberts Musser

    Please note: I am Vice-Chair of the Davis Senior Citizens Commission but speaking as a private citizen.

    The Davis Senior Citizens Commission held its last off-site meeting at Atria Covell Gardens, where more than 60 seniors turned out to tell us their concerns. Uppermost on the minds of residents was the rent increase. Many suggestions were given to these folks by both the commission and Mayor Sue Greenwald, most of which consisted of the advice to “go public” with the issue. Soon afterward, there were Letters to the Editor and a front page article in the Davis Enterprise, as well as an extensive article about the issue on this blog.

    I do think a community dialogue would be useful on this subject, because the issue is far more complicated than anyone realizes. It was discussed at our last Yolo County Commission on Aging & Adult Services meeting. I have also spoken with a marketing agent from Covell Gardens, to get management perspective.

    First of all, residents feel as if they are being “gouged” by two sizeable rent increases over the last two years. However, the contract they signed has no “cap” on rent increases, so management is free to increase rents as they see fit from a legal perspective.

    On the other hand, management has indicated the 8% increase is not an across-the-board rent hike – it depends on when you moved into the facility, and what size unit you have. There is an indication Atria Covell is willing to work with its residents to make sure no senior ends up “on the street without a home”. Seniors facing financial difficulties can be downsized to a smaller unit for instance. As far as management is concerned, or so I was told, they will do whatever it takes so that no one is going to be displaced from Atria Covell Gardens by the lastest round of increases.

    Atria Covell Gardens is also undergoing some major refurbishing such a roof repairs, the reason they are giving for the rent increases, or so I was informed.

    There is also a much larger issue here as well. As a senior grows more frail, the associated costs accelerate at a rapid pace. The senior may start out in an independent living facility, which is what Atria Covell Gardens was originally designed for (that is my understanding from a discussion I was involved with attended by professionals in the field). The frail elder can quickly progress to the need for an assisted living facility, which can turn into a need for a skilled nursing facility fairly fast. However, the greater the level of care, the more costly those services become. Families of loved ones find themselves scrambling to keep up with the needs of a senior as the frail elder begins deteriorating rapidly from a health perspective.

    Changes from a less service oriented facility to a more acute care facility become quite stressful for the senior, and can actually hasten a general decline in health. The money issue can add stress of immense proportion, making matters worse.

    University Retirement Commons was an attempt to solve some of this problem. It represents a continuum of care, so that as the health of the senior declines, s/he can make a smooth transition to another part of the facility. However, that model has its own set of problems (who decides when a resident must go to another part of the facility (it is usually management, who may make a business decision rather than compassionate one)?), and URC is only available to upper income folks.

    To me, one of the real key issues here centers around the original contract that was signed. Too often customers sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print, and don’t think through the ramifications of what they are agreeing to.

    That being said, there are only so many options available. If a senior wants to live near relatives, they have only a limited selection of housing, and sometimes can’t be too choosy. It certainly gives the facilities a much better bargaining position.

    What I am concerned about is the degree to which this issue is becoming politicized. Developers are touting senior housing as the method of choice to get a toe-hold into projects that otherwise might not be approved. Politicians are meeting with residents, but are not necessarily delving beyond the surface and looking at the bigger picture.

    That being said, I think the Atria Covell Residents have done the right thing – by bringing attention to their plight. But I wonder just how involved our City Council will be in really looking at the issue of senior housing from a broader perspective? It has to be carefully planned and executed, as DPD has suggested – so that seniors are not caught up in the inflation spiral that their cost of living increase cannot address.

    Is rent control the best option? Or do we need more senior housing? If so, what type? Facilities, or independent cottages? How about affordable housing for seniors? Eleanor Roosevelt Circle was an attempt at offering a different model, by offering mixed income senior housing. Unfortunately it is not what seniors wanted. In the end, it has resulted in a mostly low income facility.

    We are dealing with huge issues, of great magnitude, that have no easy solutions and are expensive to implement. You have to think things through very carefully – whereas a knee-jerk reaction can be problematic.

  59. Elaine Roberts Musser

    Please note: I am Vice-Chair of the Davis Senior Citizens Commission but speaking as a private citizen.

    The Davis Senior Citizens Commission held its last off-site meeting at Atria Covell Gardens, where more than 60 seniors turned out to tell us their concerns. Uppermost on the minds of residents was the rent increase. Many suggestions were given to these folks by both the commission and Mayor Sue Greenwald, most of which consisted of the advice to “go public” with the issue. Soon afterward, there were Letters to the Editor and a front page article in the Davis Enterprise, as well as an extensive article about the issue on this blog.

    I do think a community dialogue would be useful on this subject, because the issue is far more complicated than anyone realizes. It was discussed at our last Yolo County Commission on Aging & Adult Services meeting. I have also spoken with a marketing agent from Covell Gardens, to get management perspective.

    First of all, residents feel as if they are being “gouged” by two sizeable rent increases over the last two years. However, the contract they signed has no “cap” on rent increases, so management is free to increase rents as they see fit from a legal perspective.

    On the other hand, management has indicated the 8% increase is not an across-the-board rent hike – it depends on when you moved into the facility, and what size unit you have. There is an indication Atria Covell is willing to work with its residents to make sure no senior ends up “on the street without a home”. Seniors facing financial difficulties can be downsized to a smaller unit for instance. As far as management is concerned, or so I was told, they will do whatever it takes so that no one is going to be displaced from Atria Covell Gardens by the lastest round of increases.

    Atria Covell Gardens is also undergoing some major refurbishing such a roof repairs, the reason they are giving for the rent increases, or so I was informed.

    There is also a much larger issue here as well. As a senior grows more frail, the associated costs accelerate at a rapid pace. The senior may start out in an independent living facility, which is what Atria Covell Gardens was originally designed for (that is my understanding from a discussion I was involved with attended by professionals in the field). The frail elder can quickly progress to the need for an assisted living facility, which can turn into a need for a skilled nursing facility fairly fast. However, the greater the level of care, the more costly those services become. Families of loved ones find themselves scrambling to keep up with the needs of a senior as the frail elder begins deteriorating rapidly from a health perspective.

    Changes from a less service oriented facility to a more acute care facility become quite stressful for the senior, and can actually hasten a general decline in health. The money issue can add stress of immense proportion, making matters worse.

    University Retirement Commons was an attempt to solve some of this problem. It represents a continuum of care, so that as the health of the senior declines, s/he can make a smooth transition to another part of the facility. However, that model has its own set of problems (who decides when a resident must go to another part of the facility (it is usually management, who may make a business decision rather than compassionate one)?), and URC is only available to upper income folks.

    To me, one of the real key issues here centers around the original contract that was signed. Too often customers sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print, and don’t think through the ramifications of what they are agreeing to.

    That being said, there are only so many options available. If a senior wants to live near relatives, they have only a limited selection of housing, and sometimes can’t be too choosy. It certainly gives the facilities a much better bargaining position.

    What I am concerned about is the degree to which this issue is becoming politicized. Developers are touting senior housing as the method of choice to get a toe-hold into projects that otherwise might not be approved. Politicians are meeting with residents, but are not necessarily delving beyond the surface and looking at the bigger picture.

    That being said, I think the Atria Covell Residents have done the right thing – by bringing attention to their plight. But I wonder just how involved our City Council will be in really looking at the issue of senior housing from a broader perspective? It has to be carefully planned and executed, as DPD has suggested – so that seniors are not caught up in the inflation spiral that their cost of living increase cannot address.

    Is rent control the best option? Or do we need more senior housing? If so, what type? Facilities, or independent cottages? How about affordable housing for seniors? Eleanor Roosevelt Circle was an attempt at offering a different model, by offering mixed income senior housing. Unfortunately it is not what seniors wanted. In the end, it has resulted in a mostly low income facility.

    We are dealing with huge issues, of great magnitude, that have no easy solutions and are expensive to implement. You have to think things through very carefully – whereas a knee-jerk reaction can be problematic.

  60. Elaine Roberts Musser

    Please note: I am Vice-Chair of the Davis Senior Citizens Commission but speaking as a private citizen.

    The Davis Senior Citizens Commission held its last off-site meeting at Atria Covell Gardens, where more than 60 seniors turned out to tell us their concerns. Uppermost on the minds of residents was the rent increase. Many suggestions were given to these folks by both the commission and Mayor Sue Greenwald, most of which consisted of the advice to “go public” with the issue. Soon afterward, there were Letters to the Editor and a front page article in the Davis Enterprise, as well as an extensive article about the issue on this blog.

    I do think a community dialogue would be useful on this subject, because the issue is far more complicated than anyone realizes. It was discussed at our last Yolo County Commission on Aging & Adult Services meeting. I have also spoken with a marketing agent from Covell Gardens, to get management perspective.

    First of all, residents feel as if they are being “gouged” by two sizeable rent increases over the last two years. However, the contract they signed has no “cap” on rent increases, so management is free to increase rents as they see fit from a legal perspective.

    On the other hand, management has indicated the 8% increase is not an across-the-board rent hike – it depends on when you moved into the facility, and what size unit you have. There is an indication Atria Covell is willing to work with its residents to make sure no senior ends up “on the street without a home”. Seniors facing financial difficulties can be downsized to a smaller unit for instance. As far as management is concerned, or so I was told, they will do whatever it takes so that no one is going to be displaced from Atria Covell Gardens by the lastest round of increases.

    Atria Covell Gardens is also undergoing some major refurbishing such a roof repairs, the reason they are giving for the rent increases, or so I was informed.

    There is also a much larger issue here as well. As a senior grows more frail, the associated costs accelerate at a rapid pace. The senior may start out in an independent living facility, which is what Atria Covell Gardens was originally designed for (that is my understanding from a discussion I was involved with attended by professionals in the field). The frail elder can quickly progress to the need for an assisted living facility, which can turn into a need for a skilled nursing facility fairly fast. However, the greater the level of care, the more costly those services become. Families of loved ones find themselves scrambling to keep up with the needs of a senior as the frail elder begins deteriorating rapidly from a health perspective.

    Changes from a less service oriented facility to a more acute care facility become quite stressful for the senior, and can actually hasten a general decline in health. The money issue can add stress of immense proportion, making matters worse.

    University Retirement Commons was an attempt to solve some of this problem. It represents a continuum of care, so that as the health of the senior declines, s/he can make a smooth transition to another part of the facility. However, that model has its own set of problems (who decides when a resident must go to another part of the facility (it is usually management, who may make a business decision rather than compassionate one)?), and URC is only available to upper income folks.

    To me, one of the real key issues here centers around the original contract that was signed. Too often customers sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print, and don’t think through the ramifications of what they are agreeing to.

    That being said, there are only so many options available. If a senior wants to live near relatives, they have only a limited selection of housing, and sometimes can’t be too choosy. It certainly gives the facilities a much better bargaining position.

    What I am concerned about is the degree to which this issue is becoming politicized. Developers are touting senior housing as the method of choice to get a toe-hold into projects that otherwise might not be approved. Politicians are meeting with residents, but are not necessarily delving beyond the surface and looking at the bigger picture.

    That being said, I think the Atria Covell Residents have done the right thing – by bringing attention to their plight. But I wonder just how involved our City Council will be in really looking at the issue of senior housing from a broader perspective? It has to be carefully planned and executed, as DPD has suggested – so that seniors are not caught up in the inflation spiral that their cost of living increase cannot address.

    Is rent control the best option? Or do we need more senior housing? If so, what type? Facilities, or independent cottages? How about affordable housing for seniors? Eleanor Roosevelt Circle was an attempt at offering a different model, by offering mixed income senior housing. Unfortunately it is not what seniors wanted. In the end, it has resulted in a mostly low income facility.

    We are dealing with huge issues, of great magnitude, that have no easy solutions and are expensive to implement. You have to think things through very carefully – whereas a knee-jerk reaction can be problematic.

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