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Eskaton: 31 years of success
Manteca Manor serves low income seniors
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Eskaton Manteca Manor Executive Director Tammy Coats.

Try living in Manteca on $15,500 a year while renting an apartment of your own.

Given that the average rent for a one bedroom apartment at second and third tier complexes is almost $900 a month you’d have to pay $10,800 a year for housing. That leaves just $400 a month for utilities, food, and other necessities.

Since 1984, the very low and low income seniors 62 and older have had a safe haven where they can lead independent lives and not wonder how they are going to eat after paying the rent.

Eskaton Manteca Manor tucked away off the beaten path in north Manteca at 544 Eastwood Ave. is Manteca’s original Section 42 housing option for low-income seniors.

Unlike Section 8 housing, the rent isn’t subsidized directly by the government. Instead it is done though a series of tax credits that allows non-profit organizations to build and rent apartment complexes to eligible seniors. Rents are capped at 30 percent of a qualified renter’s income. That also includes utilities that are a resident’s responsibility.

So the senior with an income of $15,500 a year would pay $4,650 a year in rent leaving them $10,850 for other expenses or $900 a month. That’s $500 more a month that they would have if they were renting an apartment at the market rate of $900 a month.

The maximum income to qualify for a Manteca Manor apartment is $20,900 a year. The complex has 485-square-foot studio apartments and 578-square-foot one bedroom units.

Eskaton has quietly served low income seniors living at the 84-unit complex for 31 years without much notice from the community.

Tammy Coats hopes to change that.

Coats has been the Eskaton Manteca Manor executive director since November.

 One way that may be accomplished is by finding ways to engage the community with Eskaton Manteca Manor residents. The first such event is a car show and open house on Saturday, Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Coats has arranged for the JPR Band to play. There will be raffle prizes, a silent auction, and hot dogs, chips and water for sale for $2.

Residents will pick the winner of the Best of Show.

Thirty cars are entered so far. For more details call 823.8828.

You could argue there is no need to “publicize” Eskaton Manteca Manor’s existence given there is an 18-month long waiting list for apartments.

But that is precisely why Coats said it makes sense to step up Manteca Manor’s profile. There is a need in the community for more subsidized housing for low income seniors.

At the same time she wants to help residents become more engaged in the community. There are some who already volunteer with programs such as Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police through the Manteca Police Department. She is hoping to get youth groups involved with Manteca Manor residents that represent diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Residents worked all of their lives typically at jobs that didn’t provide an opportunity to save for retirement  or have retirement programs.

“A lot of our residents worked for years making decent salaries but inflation has eaten away (at their retirement income),” Coats noted.

Coats also hopes to improve landscaping and put in place even more programs aimed at keeping residents active and involved.

“Tammy is going to put Eskaton Manteca Manor on  the map,” noted JoAnn Jamerson, a 17-year resident.

Jamerson is a retired medical technician who had been living nearby with her daughter’s family.

Moving into Eskaton Manteca Manor allowed her to resume an independent  life.

And she has done just that as she is involved with service organizations and non-profits in Manteca. She also has served on committees such as the council-appointed group that oversees the public safety tax.

Eskaton maintains a fulltime social services staff member at the complex to assist tenants. The 4.5 member staff includes a part-time housekeeper, a maintenance man, and an office coordinator.

Founded in 1968, Eskaton is now the largest nonprofit community-based organization serving seniors in the Greater Sacramento area. They provide services and support for nearly 12,000 individuals annually who live in their communities or participate in their comprehensive Home Support Services.