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History of ECHO Foundation (East Cape Housing Organization)

During 1965, the SA Red Cross Society (Eastern Cape) established a frail care facility – Laubscher Park Home.
This facility was built to meet the growing need for frail care in the Port Elizabeth area. In the ensuing years, the need for retirement facilities were noted and additional retirement villages were constructed by the Red Cross.

In 1989, a strategic decision was taken by the Red Cross to separate the aged care from its core functions and it was thus formally agreed, that a specialized organization be established to take over the aged care facilities and retirement villages as going concerns. This decision resulted in the formation of the ECHO Foundation on the 1st April 1991.

The ECHO Foundation was formed as a section 21 Company, registered as a non-profit company, with a defined purpose of; “providing acceptable and cost effective housing, institutional care and community service to senior citizens, thereby offering security and peace of mind.”

In order to capacitate the Foundation, assets consisting of various properties were transferred and purchased from the Red Cross Association of South Africa by the Foundation, at a value equal to the outstanding debt on each property. Certain personnel from Red Cross were offered positions within the Foundation, from which the current staff complement was built.

Where are we now?

Our Retirement Villages

The ECHO Foundation currently owns and manages ten retirement villages within the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality in the coastal City of Port Elizabeth, situated in the Eastern Cape of Southern Africa. Total cottages and flats under management now stand at 1107.

Our Admittance Criteria

Our services extend to qualifying persons older than 60 years of age, predominately residing within the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. Persons who have reached the age of 75 years, may not apply for accommodation unless their spouse / partner, is younger than 75 years of age at the time of making application for accommodation.

Persons from previously disadvantaged population groups are given preference, based on ECHO Foundation’s affordability policies.

There are two types of tenure options offered, namely, life right and rental.

Life Right

The life right option provides life time usage of the housing unit by the purchaser and his or her spouse, with the added benefit of guaranteed admittance into the Foundation’s frail care facilities at a reduced cost.
On the vacating or death of the remaining spouse, the housing unit becomes part of the Foundations rental stock, for future rental to qualifying persons at a subsidized rental.
Life right purchase is only available as and when new housing developments are undertaken.
To view current life rights up for sale, click here


Rental contracts are for an indefinite period with the option of a one month notice period on the part of the tenant and runs for the duration of the lessee’s or the remaining spouse’s life time.
The rental tenure option further provides guaranteed admittance to the Foundation’s frail care facilities, at the applicable monthly rate prevailing at the time of admittance. Details of rentals are available on request.

Sick bay and frail care facilities

In order to provide residents with holistic aged care, the Foundation owns and manages a frail care and sick bay facility at its Munro Kirk and Lapa Munnik Homes, which are in close proximity to all of its existing retirement villages. The Foundation also manages the Ikhaya McNamee frail care situated in Walmer Township.