UMH Launches Effort to Provide Care Cottages

Care Cottages ADU Genesis interior
ADUs from Genesis Homes, a collaboration between URBANEER and Skyline Champion Corporation, will be UMH's original source for Care Cottages. Photo courtesy of Skyline Champion Corporation.

UMH Properties is a publicly-traded company from New Jersey that owns manufactured home communities in eight states. However, during a recent conversation about the adverse effects of the COVID-19 on aging Americans, the organization came up with a plan to offer individual cottage homes on lease.

The new business is ready to launch after just a summer. UMH will begin taking orders regionally, in the northeast, and will expand during 2021.

ADUs hot building trend exterior URBANEER
The exterior of the URBANEER 510.

“We started talking about how the COVID-19 was affecting home care facilities,” Daniel Blumenkrantz, a market analyst for UMH Properties. “We were hearing how there was no family allowed in or out, and about people making visits to loved ones through the window. We knew there had to be a better way.

“It was a quick turnaround, but it needed to be that way,” Blumenkrantz said. “It’s a current issue that needs to be addressed.”

Not everyone has space for a family member to come live with them, and some family caregivers just prefer some separation while keeping the loved-one in need of care close by with the assistance that’s needed.

Care Cottages Acquired on a Lease

Care Cottages are available now, and being taken nationwide to aid the process of aging in place. Buyers with a home that has space in the side or rear yard can lease a home for five or more years to provide the independence and care needed by a relative or loved one who is aging, ailing, or has special needs.

“When a customer contacts us looking for more information we work with them to confirm the space they have, what their needs are, and from there we go into helping them determine the structure and floorplan that would work best,” Blumenkrantz said.

The company is using ADUs — accessory dwelling units — for the cottages.

Help With Zoning Need for Care Cottage Clients

UMH Properties can help navigate zoning requirements with a Care Cottage customer, as well as make modifications to meet ADA requirements and other access and lifestyle solutions.

“The individual would lease the house from us, we get it delivered, and then remove it when it’s not needed any longer,” Blumenkrantz said. “Often people are looking for a temporary space, so we’re starting with a minimum 5-year lease.”

Blumenkrantz said he and others on the Care Cottages team believe the temporary nature of the structures will ease the burden of local zoning codes.

“We’re going to be working with people to make sure it’s an easy process,” he said. “We have a lot of experience in the factory-built housing, having done it since 1968. We have the partnerships that are needed to roll this out in a smooth manner.”

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