Friendship Village of Schaumburg, one of largest senior living facilities in country, files for Chapter 11 citing pandemic as primary cause
The largest life plan community in Illinois, and one of the largest in the country, Evangelical Retirement Homes of Greater Chicago, Inc., also known as Friendship Village of Schaumburg, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing, made on June 9, 2023, has stunned sent shockwaves residents and employees alike as they grapple with the implications of this financial crisis. However, staff have assured everyone involved with the facility that the legal procedures will not disrupt continued operations.
While commercial bankruptcy often means a business must shut down, the Friendship Village, which began exploring viable options to help solve their financial crises last year, intend to use the legal protection to strengthen and ensure the future of the community. According to a news release issued by the holding company, “Stakeholders believe the best solution is to utilize the bankruptcy process to run a marketing and sale process to select a potential purchaser and, after an auction, a winning bidder.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been cited as a major contributing factor to the financial challenges faced by the community. The senior living industry has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with increased costs for staffing, personal protective equipment, and health and safety protocols. The Friendship Village of Schaumburg, like many other senior living communities, has experienced a decline in occupancy and revenue during this unprecedented period. These circumstances ultimately led to the difficult decision to seek bankruptcy protection.
In addition to the bankruptcy case, the community has requested several measures from the court to support their ongoing operations and facilitate the restructuring process. These requests include authorizing the maintenance of prepetition bank accounts, adequate assurance of utility payments, and employment-related matters. These measures aim to ensure the continuity of essential services and provide stability to the community during the bankruptcy proceedings.
While the bankruptcy filing may initially appear as a setback, Friendship Village of Schaumburg intends to utilize the Chapter 11 protection to improve the facility and community over the long term. The community's management believes that this process will allow them to restructure their finances, reduce debt burdens, and develop a sustainable plan for the future. By utilizing bankruptcy protection, they aim to preserve their mission of providing high-quality care and services to their residents.