Unlicensed Assisted Living Facilities are "Houses of Horrors"

At an  assisted living facility in Florida state inspectors found signs of rats, an unsafe water source and poorly maintained electrical wiring and fire safety equipment. A separate investigation of the same facility by the Miami Herald found that one of the assistant directors had criminal convictions for cocaine possession, burglary and carrying a concealed weapon.

The primary problem was that the facility was unlicensed. The owner told regulators the residence provided only housing, not other services, for alcoholics, ex-convicts and people with mental health issues, which they claimed would not require a health care license. However, inspectors discovered that staff helped residents take medication. One person who had lived at the home for four years told authorities: "I don't want to be here. We get little food, and it's bad."

Unfortunately, this facility is not alone. In Florida alone, hundreds of these living facilities are unregulated. They have names like Home Sweet Home, House of Joy and Nurse's Loving Heart. They call themselves shelters, rooming houses or "sober homes." Critics of these facilities claim that are actually assisted living facilities calling themselves different names to avoid regulation and increase their profits. For more on this problem, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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