City raising red flags about all Southwest Key facilities in city

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(KTRK)

The city of Houston is reinspecting all the Southwest Key facilities in Houston after paperwork was done incorrectly for a new facility, fire chief Samuel Pena said.

Inspectors were sent out to three locations already operating and were initially denied access, Pena said. Inspectors were sent again to one location Tuesday and allowed in. Reports about what inspectors found weren't immediately available, city staff said.

Additional inspectors were sent out to the other two locations Wednesday.

Pena and a city permitting official wrote Southwest Key's CEO about the permitting process for a proposed facility at 419 Emancipation. That facility was originally for children separated from their families under President Trump. A certificate of occupancy permit issued for the facility is now invalid because the planned intention for the facility has changed, Pena wrote.

Southwest Key needs to submit new plans to the city for review, Pena wrote.

That change put the city's three other facilities in line for review to ensure they are in compliance with city rules, the letter read.

Inspectors were only allowed into the office and lobby areas.

Mayor Sylvester Turner is opposed to the proposed facility, but the city has little choice on issuing the permits for operation if they are in order.

"Southwest Key is being singled out in a way that is not consistent with how the city traditionally does business," said Jeff Eller, a spokesperson for Southwest Key. "We will do what the city wants us to do (to comply). What we struggle with is that this appears to be a constantly moving set of regulatory goalposts."

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