‘It is outrageous:’ Senior living facility abandoned by management following storm, Mayor says

‘You want to rent one money. We want to live better than where we living.’

HOUSTON – A senior living apartment complex in Houston is accused of abandoning its vulnerable residents after a severe weather outbreak in Houston on Thursday.

During an update on the recovery following Thursday’s deadly storm in Houston, Mayor John Whitmire spoke about an issue that was brought to his attention.

Whitmire said the city was informed about an assisted living facility, Independence Hall on Burress Street, whose management allegedly abandoned those living at the facility after the storm hit Thursday.

Houston Firefighters responded and immediately transported at least two people to the hospital on Sunday, according to Fire Chief Samuel Pena.

“They haven’t had energy, they haven’t had food, their insulin has been ruined,” Whitmire said. “We were notified of this and I can’t begin to tell you the response was so impressive by Houston Fire, Houston PD, the Health Department, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, all the stakeholders ran to Independence Hall and that’s where I’m headed at the conclusion of this press conference.”

Whitmire said they are going to hold the management accountable.

“We’re going to hold the management responsible. If they want to do business and be licensed in the state of Texas in the City of Houston, they’re going to have to care for their clients,” he said.

The mayor visited the site on Sunday evening alongside Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Pena and acting Houston Police Chief Larry Satterwhite.

He took KPRC 2′s Gage Goulding and Photojournalist Patrick Hardesty into one of the worst impacted units. The ceiling has collapsed in and many of the belongings inside were soaking wet.

“This is not just from the storm. The units 260, have been neglected for years,” Mayor Whitmire said. “You have an absentee owner placing a manager that doesn’t have the resources to address these life safety issues.”

Residents echoing the words of the Mayor. They say staff at Independence Hall left them high and dry after weather moved through the area on Thursday.

Gage Goulding: “Did they do anything to help you? Did they bring you ice? Did they bring you food?”

Wanda Fitzpatrick: “No. No food, no ice, no nothing. You need to come and see about us. You want our rent money. We want to live better than where we living.”

Calling the situation deplorable, Whitmire said they haven’t been able to contact everyone living there. Houston Firefighters and police officers were going door to door and they weren’t leaving until every last resident was accounted for.

Whitmire said there are approximately 260 units at the assisted living facility.

The City of Houston already flagged Independence Hall in April, placing a red tag on the front of the building. Issues with electrical permits for several buildings was the cause and it appears the issues were never corrected.

The Mayor now says he’s working with law enforcement to potentially pursue criminal charges.

“We’re discussing the HPD, the criminal neglect, abandonment of the owner and leaving people living in these conditions,” he said.

KPRC2 asked the management of Independence Hall for comment on this story. We have yet to receive a response.

About the Authors

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.

Gage Goulding is an award-winning TV news reporter and anchor. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he comes to Texas from Fort Myers, FL, where he covered some of the areas most important stories, including Hurricane Ian.

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