HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (NTV Houston) — Harris County Sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, held a briefing this morning discussing how Harris County Sheriff’s office intends to enforce new boarding home laws after discovering in late 2020 a three bedroom, one bath home with forty people living in it.
A new state law passed that will penalize people who operate unlicensed boarding homes outside of city jurisdictions. The county correlates boarding homes as a residential facility which will provide to three or more unrelated persons with disabilities or elderly people with housing and personal care services.
Effective Wednesday, September 1st, anyone caught operating an unlicensed boarding home could face a class B misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. In addition, class A misdemeanor which carries a maximum punishment of a year in jail and a possible $4,000 fine.
Due to these changes by the Sheriff’s Office Boarding Home Detail, about 60 facilities in Harris County will require licenses.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez discovered the boarding home in response to a kidnapping report in precinct 7, instead he discovered this crowded home.
There are accusations of prostitution and drug use which are under investigation by the Harris County’s Sheriff’s department. The unhygienic living situations include infestation of insects and exposure of open wounds.
“Exploitation can be rampant in these places as boarding home operators greedily cash their resident’s checks without meeting their most basic needs. We’re here to put a stop to that.” Gonzalez explained.