HOUSTON – A woman that lived and worked at a group home at 14206 Long Meadow Drive, where 37 disabled and elderly residents were found living in squalor Monday, said residents faced abuse and neglect. She said residents lived in fear of violence from the home’s owner and other managers.
Cynthia Jackson, 60, said she had nowhere else to go in August 2019, after she was released from Ben Taub Hospital’s psychiatric ward.
“The caseworker (at Ben Taub) told me that they were going to call the group home,” she said.
Jackson said she suffers from bipolar disorder and a hospital social worker referred her to one of several group homes run by Carroll Richardson, 42, the owner of Blessed Hands Independent Homes.
On his Facebook page presents himself as a small business owner, but Richardson has a long criminal history, including prison time for armed robbery. He is currently charged with assaulting a disabled woman, who was a client at one of his homes last year.
“He’s a mean guy. He’s a greedy guy.” Jackson said.
Jackson said she lived at several suburban group homes operated by Richardson and that two were forced to close by police. When they did, she says residents would simply be moved to another home.
Jackson said many of the residents at the group homes where she lived between August 2019 and August 2020 came from Ben Taub Hospital.
By the time she transferred to the home on Long Meadow Drive, which was raided by Harris County Precinct 7 deputy constables on Monday, a total of 41 residents were living there in a filthy and bug-infested four-bedroom home.
“It was about the money. If they had an income and Ben Taub would send them there, he would say 'put 'em somewhere,” Jackson said.
She said Richardson forced residents to turn over their disability checks and food stamps to stay in the home. Then he would often use clients as attendants. In Jackson’s case, she paid her way by cooking for other residents.
Jackson said Richardson often used violence to keep the elderly and disabled residents in line.
“He slapped a couple of them around,” she said. “I couldn’t tell you why.”
She said she finally left the Long Meadow home last month because she wasn’t being paid and now lives with a relative.
She said she reported what she saw to Adult Services, to her social worker, and to her doctor, but no one seemed to be listening.
“I feel like I let them down,” she said. “I left.”
KPRC 2 contacted Harris Health System to ask why patients were being sent to the homes operated by Richardson. Officials said Ben Taub Hospital social workers did not directly refer patients to any facility but instead provided a list of facilities for patients to choose from.
They confirmed that the Long Meadow home was on that list, but has since been removed.