Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
A desire to eliminate confusion underlies the announcement in early July of a name change for the Irvine-based 50+ Housing Council of the Building Industry Association of Southern California. From now on, the organization will be known as the 55+ Housing Council, its website address www.55socal.com.
“There was a little bit of confusion on the part of our members,” Anthony Sandoval, the council’s current president, tells MHN. “We’ve now changed the name to reflect the minimum age restriction under the Fair Housing Law, 55.”
This is the second name change in the organization’s more than two-decade history. Founded in 1990 as a special interest council of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, the organization was originally given the name Seniors Housing Council.
“Then we realized we were attempting to appeal to more builders of age-targeted for-sale housing, and recognized the term ’seniors’ was attracting the older nursing home and Alzheimer’s facility builders,” Sandoval says.
As a result, five years ago the organization changed its name to the 50+ Housing Council of the Building Industry Association of Southern California. That name better represented the fact that the council comprised builders of for-sale homes for active baby boomers, in addition to builders of care-oriented seniors housing, including assisted living housing and senior apartments.
Now it has changed once more, to the 55+ Housing Council, in an effort to eliminate confusion about minimum-age restrictions in communities permissible under Fair Housing Laws. Those restrictions require communities specifically designed for this market segment be for those 55 and older, the council reports.
“The 55+Housing Council represents a wide array of housing professionals involved in every aspect of building housing,” says Sandoval, the president of Irvine-based Western Seniors Housing, which manages market-rate and affordable senior apartment communities. “[The council has] active adult, age-targeted, senior condos, 55+ apartments, continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, assisted living and Alzheimer’s care settings. We have developers, architects, landscape architects, reprographics companies producing blueprints, and all professionals involved in the industry.”
The 55+ Housing Council is the largest of more than 15 local U.S. chapters operating under the auspices of the national parent council, National Association of Home Builders 50+ Housing Council.
It meets monthly, generally attracting more than 100 attendees to educational programs and tours that spotlight this rapidly expanding sector of the housing market. Members of 55+ Housing Council participate in meetings, tours and educational conferences featuring industry leaders, and are able to network with other professionals actively involved in the 55+ housing market.
The name change pleased many, not the least of whom was Sandoval.
“At the beginning of the year, we proposed some goals, and my goal was to get the name changed,” he says, adding the new name “better defines us, because this is truly what we do.”