City of Fort Worth, TX

04/03/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/03/2024 05:52

How Fort Worth enforces its Boarding Home Ordinance

How Fort Worth enforces its Boarding Home Ordinance

Published on April 03, 2024

In March 2016 as a condition of the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice for a Fair Housing complaint, the City Council adopted a Reasonable Accommodation Ordinance, Ordinance No. 22098. The Reasonable Accommodation Ordinance establishes a formal procedure for individuals with disabilities to request reasonable accommodation or modification for residential uses in the application of the City's land use and zoning standards, regulations, policies and procedures in compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.

In January 2023, the Boarding Home Facility Ordinance was adopted and went into effect on April 15, 2023. The Boarding Home Facility Ordinance regulates facilities that provide lodging to three or more elderly or disabled persons who are unrelated to the owner by blood or marriage and provides community meals and preparation, light housework, transportation and laundry services to the residents who do not require supervision and assistance with eating, dressing and medication. The Health and Safety Code allows boarding homes in all residential districts.

Why it matters: Congregate living is a type of housing in which individuals or a family has a private bedroom or living quarters but shares with other residents a common dining room, recreational room or other facilities.

Typesof congregate living for elderly and persons with disabilities include:

  • Assisted living center
  • Boarding home facility
  • Community homes
  • Group homes including sober/recovery homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Residential care homes
  • State-supported living centers

Types of congregate living for unrelated persons include:

  • Lodging house
  • Student housing - dormitory, sorority/fraternity
  • Religious - monastery and convent

Go deeper:Enforcement of the Boarding Home Ordinance is a collaboration between Police and Code Compliance. Complaints are handled through monitoring and surveillance to detect potential violations. The City of Fort Worth aims to provide outreach and education to inform owners about laws, regulations and compliance requirements. Enforcement actions may include citations and lawsuits.

Compliance assistance:The Development Services Department through the application of the Zoning Ordinance classifies the type of congregate living and the zoning district that allows the use. Additionally, the department coordinates with the City Attorney's Office and Diversity and Inclusion Department when reviewing reasonable accommodation requests for persons with disabilities.

Regarding boarding home facilities:

  • Over 450 addresses have been visited by the Police Department and Code Compliance
  • 270 suspected boarding homes have been closed
  • 74 boarding homes have been identified (12 of the 74 are in various stages of becoming permitted)
  • Approximately 25 homes have shut down or moved to another city

No one has become homeless due to the shutdown of 25 homes. Additionally, City staff has assisted the Attorney General in Medicaid fraud cases and assisted the Office of Inspector General with possible food stamp fraud.

The City has also worked with Tarrant County MHMR and JPS with the placement of patients and has also provided food for some of the residents in these homes. The City also works with utility companies to get water, heat and other utilities turned back on if it is discovered during an inspection that those utilities are turned off.

Photo:Enforcement of the Boarding Home Ordinance is a collaboration between Police and Code Compliance.

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