He may be referring to a 'move in' cost which is an upfront fee. It may be the 'entrance cost'.
Yep, that could be it -
I am trying to think how it worked for my Mom when she entered Assisted Living.
Yes, there could have been an upfront deposit and then a paid in advance 1st month base cost.
Unless he is a veteran, I don't know of any actual financial help for this sort of upfront cost - he can talk to the long term care ombudsman which is an advocate for the residents - many places either have them on staff or have contact for them depending upong the tsize, scope and type of senior living facility.
I hope that he does understand that the "rent" covers only specific things and a very basic care level - like medication disbursement, meals, snacks, cleaning, laundry - it might include only an accompaning level of care - like they are around when you bath - but if you begin to need higher levels of care like more assistance in bathing or them actually bathing you - the amount goes up based on the level of care.
The level of care is determined by an entrance questionaire, then monitored to make sure that that level is sufficient. Then these levels are reviewed periodically to determine if a higher level is needed or not.