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Boarding Home Tragedy Strengthens City Code

City of San Antonio

City leaders began working on updating city code following the Aug. 15 fire that claimed the lives of four men at a boarding home located at 309 W. Norwood Ct.

On Thursday, city council members approved the ordinance that establishes a yearly boarding home registration and inspection program for the safety of residents.

Often times residents in boarding homes are elderly or disabled. City leaders believe new regulations will increase their quality of life and survivability in worst-case scenarios.

Fire sprinkler and sanitary inspections will be required along with new rules and fees on permitting, and tougher restrictions on boarding homes being located within a half mile of another.

The ordinance partners with the Adult Protective Services Division, a state agency, to check on cases of possible abuse or neglect, and to help enforce higher standards of care.

Council members say they want to strengthen what has been an unregulated system to help save lives and improve quality of life for residents. District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor believes the ordinance could still be improved by helping responsible boarding home operators with bringing their businesses up to code.

"Because they may still be providing a clean, safe environment for these vulnerable folks but of course we want to ensure the safety of the folks, but we also want for people who are providing the service to them in a responsible way to be able to stay in business,” she said.

The ordinance establishes a registration and inspection program, implements a $1,000 boarding home permit fee, and partners with Adult Protective Services.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.