HOUSTON – Revelations of dozens of elderly and disabled residents living in squalor at an unlicensed group home in southeast Harris County has sparked investigations by the Sheriff’s office and state agencies.
So far, investigators have not been able to find the man who is accused of owning the home.
Precinct 7 deputy constables went to the Caring Hands Group Home, in the 14200 block of Long Meadow Drive, Monday evening after a 62-year-old resident reported through a relative that he was being held against his will, and was in fear of his life. When the homes attendants refused to allow the deputies in, the officers forced their way in.
What they found inside were more than three dozen residents crammed into every available space of a dirty, bug-infested four-bedroom house with one working toilet.
Residents allege criminal activity
Several complained of being held there against their will and claimed that attendants threatened their lives, according to Sen. Boris Miles, who accompanied police to the house.
“These people were exchanging their social security money, and social security IDs, along with their food stamps to have to pay for their lodging and residency at that facility. Basically, that boils down to warehousing these people on taxpayer dollars," Miles said.
He also said police are currently looking into allegations from residents at the home, which include kidnapping, prostitution and drug dealing.
Miles identified the man who operated the Caring Hands group home as 46-year-old Carroll Richardson.
Richardson has a long criminal history, including prison time for armed robbery, and arrests for attempted murder and assault.
He’s currently charged with assaulting a disabled woman last November who wanted to move out of another group home.
Miles said a big problem with unlicensed homes is the lack of regulation. He said he’ll try to change that in the next session of the legislature.
“If they’re unlicensed, they’re unregulated, if they’re unregulated, we can’t control what goes on inside. If they’re unregulated and unlicensed, this type of occurrence will repeat itself,” he said.
Right now, group homes inside the Houston city limits must be licensed, while homes in unincorporated areas of the county are not required to be licensed.
Miles said he wants to look for remedies through legislation in the next legislative session and examine why Houston hospitals refer or even transport patients to homes like Caring Hands without investigating the conditions of the homes.