Houston launches new boarding house initiative

A new investigative team consist of various city employees, law enforcement and social agencies, all coming together to make sure the estimated 430 boarding or group homes around the city are in compliance.
September 26, 2013 10:34:01 AM PDT
The city of Houston and the Houston Police Department are taking new steps to keep a watchful eye on boarding houses in our city.

The city is preparing to implement new rules for boarding houses to not only help those who live there, but to also make it safer for everyone.

A new investigative team consisting of various city employees, law enforcement and social agencies will come together to make sure the estimated 430 boarding or group homes around the city are in compliance.

Back in July, city council members passed an ordinance that will enforce the regulation of these types of homes that usually house several people with disabilities or who are elderly.

Just some of the requirements include the owner or operators registering with the city, paying for fire inspections and reporting any deaths or criminal activity. They must also conduct criminal background checks for owners and employees.

Officers tell us in many cases, the residents living in these home are living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

"Other conditions relate to the general condition of the homes," said Doug Ander with the Houston Police Department. "Stoves that don't work, refrigerators that don't work, sewage on the ground, ceilings falling down, electrical shorts; electrical violations that could create a fire hazard. Some of the homes have no AC and yet keep the windows boarded up so the clients inside so there is no air flow."

Officials tell us police are often called out to boarding homes and in many cases, this is when they discover the home and the conditions in them.

They also say this is a way to keep the residents in the mental health system and not in the jail system.

A total of three officers with the city will be responsible for overseeing all of the estimated 430 homes.

This new ordinance will go into effect on November 25.

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