Senior Assisted Living Centers with Joanie Williams – Episode 38

Senior Assisted Living Centers with Joanie Williams

Senior Assisted Living Centers with Joanie Williams – Episode 38

The New Old Age – EB-5 Investing in Senior Living with Joanie Williams

Mona, Mark and Joanie talk about the Senior Living Industry and how EB-5 investors can venture in this industry.



In the previous podcast Mona and Mark talked about the L1 and EB1C visas. Compare them to the E2 and EB5 visas and outline potential advantages and hidden pitfalls. In today’s episode, Joanie Williams talks about the senior living industry and the opportunities that it brings to EB-5 investors.

Joanie Williams is the Chief Financial Officer of Watercrest Senior Living Group. She has been working with senior living industry since 2007, where she brings her financial discipline, cash flow, operating efficiencies, reporting and controls, human resource utilization and strategic planning. Joanie has a servant’s heart and works tirelessly to improve systems and trains continually to ensure excellence.

“I understand that everything I do as CFO should ultimately translate into higher quality of care for seniors.” ~Joanie Williams


What are the different types of Senior Assisted Living?

  • Independent Living
    Independent living is a rewarding living experience for seniors with able bodies and minds who still enjoy an active lifestyle by living in apartments and villas with amenities.


  • Senior Assisted Living
    Senior Assisted Living gives the senior residents the opportunity live comfortably and enjoy their own daily routine, with the confidence of safety and support through assisted living from providing the senior residents’ assistance that includes daily living with activities, transportation and food service tailored to their need and preference. This service is licensed under AHCA (Agency for Healthcare Administration).


  • Memory Care
    Memory Care service is specific to Alzheimer’s and Dementia cases that deeply rooted to a person-centered approach focused on creating feelings of belonging and purpose for each senior residents while seeking to preserve their identity and sense of self.



Do you need a Regional Center or will a Direct Pooled EB5 structure work? 

An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization publically or privately owned which facilitates investment in job-creating economic development projects by pooling capital raised under the EB-5 immigrant investor program. They maximize the program’s job creation benefits by facilitating the investment of significant amounts of capital in large-scale projects often in coordination with regional economic development agencies, which then use the EB-5 funds to leverage additional capital.

EB-5 investors who choose a direct investment are required by law to invest in a commercial enterprise, whether alone or together with fellow-investors that directly creates at least 10 new jobs.

The direct pooled will have to show the creation of 10 jobs and be able to tie those jobs to actual W-2 workers (35 hours/week). Therefore the job numbers tend to be lower and usually there is no job cushion. On the regional center side, however, the investor can count indirect, induced jobs and direct jobs (if supposing construction of a building will take > 2 years).

The majority of Living Center EB-5 deals tend to be done under the auspices of a regional center because the job count is much higher.


As there are many senior assisted living centers, what should EB-5 investors look for or ask when considering an investment?

  • Investment Risk

EB-5 investors should consider that there is a risk in investing, like any other real estate investment.

  • Ability to create job

EB-5 investors should consider the ability to count jobs toward the required job creation and other institutional controls.

  • Project Complexity

EB-5 investors should consider the complexity of an assisted living community which is an operationally intensive business which is licensed unlike independent living.

  • Track Record of the Living Center Operator

EB-5 investors should know the developer’s track records, the number of completed developments, were they on time and how many assisted living community have they done successfully. Ensure that the operator is strong with a history of success in developing similar projects.



What is the process of setting up Assisted Living Project from building construction up to occupancy?

  • Project preliminary work

The developer should have completed a significant amount of the preliminary project work, such as obtaining a feasibility study, preparing preliminary plans and budgets for the project, and acquiring the property and determining zoning and permit requirements.

  • On site marketing

During the construction phase, the developer should provide a sales trailer on site or showroom to make sure the market knows the project before it opens. Marketing is an essential part to attract investors and residents.

  • Market Research

The investor shall see that the market is the right market and the developer working on the project is a good one.

  • Location

Ensure that the development is in a good location for accessibility.



Where are residents in Senior Living Centers from?

  • Senior residents can be walk-ins.
  • Senior residents can be from outreach in communities, hospitals, discharge planners, rehabilitation centers, etc.
  • Senior residents can be from referrals.


What red flags can be found internal and perhaps seen external to senior assisted living centers?

  • Since assisted living is a licensed industry, lawsuit cases are possible.
  • How you manage that risk of accidents is a critical part for investors.


Ways to Manage Risk in Choosing Assisted Living?

  • Know the living center operator’s performance.
  • Ask the living center operator where their other location is and survey their background.
  • Find out if the living center operator is compliant with laws.


If you have questions about investment immigration, please reach out to Mona Shah & Associates.