Home to thousands of seniors for 35 years, Saint Francis Manor has played a unique role in Indian River County.
By 1972, the need for affordable housing for senior citizens became apparent in the county. The St. Vincent De Paul Society approved a request from then realtor/builder, Frank Zorc for a modest amount of "seed money" to explore ideas for a project.
Over the dining room table, Frank and his family supported a new concept. The hope was for a project built in stages with the goal of building a facility for seniors with limited incomes using private funding- not using any federal or state funds for construction. Private and/or bank financing were envisioned and the project would be operated as a not for profit organization. The name St. Francis Manor was suggested and later adopted by a board of directors. The committee had no funds on hand. The eventual project was built one building at a time over eight (8) years and completed in 1981.
Mr. James T. Vocelle, a prominent local attorney and political activist, became a director and gave many legal services at no charge for over 20 years. Together with Frank Zorc they pursued a low-cost long term lease for a beautiful five (5) acre site between 20th Avenue and 17th Avenue. The site was located by aerial observation with son, Bill Zorc, in a small plane. It was a jungle of brush and big trees which provided an excellent land site.
A 99-year lease from the county was signed and a commitment of temporary financing for two buildings soon came forth.
October 1974 - the first 12 unit building was dedicated. All buildings were built with substantial savings from generous local contractors. In October 1976, the third 12 unit building and the dining/recreation building was dedicated with a joyful crowd attending.
In October 1981, the last 12 unit building was completed making a total of 98 units that continue to serve the housing needs of many senior citizens. No state or federal funds were ever used to build St. Francis Manor.
Since inception over 900 residents have called St. Francis Manor home. SFM is currently home to 98 residents providing security, comfort, a beautiful natural environment, and most important, independent living at the lowest cost possible.
During 2008-2009, the boardwalk was extended around the perimeter of the pond, providing a one/sixth mile track for resident enjoyment and exercise. The older section was replaced; new lighting and benches were added. Also in 2009, all buildings were repainted cheerful yellow.
Because our waiting list averages 30 people, the Board of Directors is committed to constructing larger apartments for married couples, utilizing adjacent Manor land. Only with your help and generosity can this community need be met.