About ECHO Foundation

Affordable, accessible housing for the elderly and retired

About us

In 1965, the South African Red Cross Society (Eastern Cape) established a frail care facility – Laubscher Park Home – to meet the growing need for frail care in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

In the ensuing years, the Red Cross noted a need for retirement facilities and constructed a number of additional villages in the city.

But in 1989, a strategic decision was taken by the Red Cross to separate the aged care from its core functions. It was thus formally agreed that a specialised organisation be established to take over its aged care facilities and retirement villages.

This decision resulted in the formation of the ECHO Foundation (East Cape Housing Organisation) on 1 April 1991.

Today, the ECHO Foundation is a registered Section 21 Company, established as a non-profit company. The Foundation operates in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), a coastal city situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

The city is home to some 1.5 million people. The Foundation houses over 1,500 residents within its ten villages, assisted living unit and frail care facilities.

Management structure:

The  Foundation is managed by a Board of non-executive Directors consisting of volunteer members who bring to the  Foundation a wide range of backgrounds, experience and  expertise. The  Board meets bi-monthly with the management team and are responsible for administering the affairs of the Foundation and deciding on financial and general policy.  Head  Office and  departmental  management staff are responsible for the day-to-day management and effective implementation of approved policy.  Although the Foundation is a non-profit organisation, its policy is to be a self-funded, viable organisation with the ability to meet its financial commitments. The Foundation is a multi-disciplinary specialist organisation and employs some 170 full-time staff. The Foundation’s Head Office is based in South End, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

The Foundation’s mission:

To be a self-sustaining provider of, secure and cost-effective housing, care and community services to senior citizens of all races and religious affiliations in the Eastern Cape.

The Foundation’s vision:

To be a leader in the provision of accommodation and institutional care to senior citizens of all races and religious affiliations.

The Foundation’s values:

Respect and dignity prevail at all times when interacting with colleagues, residents and residents families. Our work environment encompasses participation, mentoring, ownership, integrity and ideas that will form the basis for continued improvements to processes, procedures and care.

How does it work?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we pride ourselves in being able to offer affordable and accessible housing solutions for the elderly and retired no matter what their needs and preferences may be.

Our services extend to those over the age of 60 who are searching for a safe and secure home in which they can live independently and enjoy unparalleled peace of mind.

The Process:

Step 1:

Look through our independent living villages.

Step 2:

Decide between rental and life right.

Step 3:

Fill in an application form.

Step 4:

Depending on the above choices, you may need to join the waiting list.

Step 5:

Move in and enjoy your retirement in a fun, caring, safe and secure environment.

Rental vs Life Right

In considering your age, health, plans and personal needs, you will find a perfect fit in either of our two residential tenure options.

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 lifetime.

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.

This is your ‘pay-as-you-go’ tenancy option.

If you choose to rent, you can expect to pay one monthly amount. For your own account will be the expenses of electricity, water and internet connectivity. The monthly rental includes building maintenance, security surveillance and monitoring, municipal charges (excluding electricity and water), village nursing clinics, social services and the use of all village facilities.

This option is different to the traditional lease format, as your rental contract will not have a termination date. Instead, it will be yours for as long as you or your partner live. 

Should you need to relocate, you can easily terminate your lease by giving one month’s notice.

The life right option provides the resident tenure for life, i.e. usage of the house by the purchaser and his or her spouse, with the added benefit of guaranteed admittance into the Foundation’s frail care facilities at the normal rate applicable to the liferight contract prevailing at the time of admittance.

Compared with rental like a ‘pay-as-you-go’ option, life right is the alternative whereby you pay your rent upfront for a fixed period of approximately 13 years. The advantage is that you avoid annual increases to rentals and, should either you or your spouse inhabit the unit for longer than 13 years, one would effectively no longer be paying rent.

Please note that a levy is also payable under the life right option. The monthly levy covers building maintenance, security surveillance and monitoring, municipal charges (excluding electricity and water), village nursing clinics, social services and the use of all village facilities.

This lifetime usage extends to your surviving spouse when you pass away.

It is important to note that life right is not a property investment.


We assess your budget and needs in order to recommend the perfect village and plan for you.

Our rental options fall in the range of R2 500 per month to R12 000 per month (excluding electricity, water and internet connectivity, and other ad hoc charges).
Our life right options fall in the range of R850 000 and R2 000 000 once-off (excluding monthly  levies, electricity, water and internet connectivity).

What ECHO’s new logo represents.

The tree is based on an oak tree because of its solid root structure and strength which together allow life to flourish, nurturing its inhabitants by providing shelter.

Its branches symbolize people reaching out from the ECHO Foundation.

Much like an oak, these ‘branches’ collectively extend over a large area; allowing it to provide these qualities to multiple inhabitants.

The circle forming the circumference of the tree is symbolic of a life cycle. Starting on the left of the tree and merging into the trunk and the branches, bringing the process full circle.

Secure your retirement today

When you join the ECHO family, we commit to supporting your new lifestyle and ensuring that you have an enjoyable and exciting retirement.  

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