2018-01-10 / Front Page

Elba Twp. seeks help with foster care operation

Thirty-five 911 calls made from facility in 2017
810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com

Thirty-five emergency 911 calls in 2017 from Harbor Point-Lapeer, 5699 Genesee Road, in Elba Township, have officials turning to the state for help. 
Photo by Andrew Dietderich Thirty-five emergency 911 calls in 2017 from Harbor Point-Lapeer, 5699 Genesee Road, in Elba Township, have officials turning to the state for help. Photo by Andrew Dietderich ELBA TWP. — Thirty-five emergency 911 calls — including 19 in December — made in 2017 from one adult group home have officials in Lapeer County’s Elba Township turning to the state for help.

Elba Township Supervisor Mike Boskee said Monday something needs to happen to address a “disproportionate” number of emergency calls originating from Harbor Point-Lapeer, 5699 Genesee Rd. — an adult group home that serves people who are developmentally disabled and/or mentally ill, according to state records.

Boskee said during Monday’s regular township board meeting that he plans to ask officials from the Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (which has state-level oversight over such facilities) to “do what it takes to reduce the call volume at that location.”

He said he is in the process of preparing a report that highlights the call volume — 58 emergency 911 calls total in 2016 and 2017. Calls range from 911 hang-up and misuse of 911 to assault and battery, sexual assault, and “suicidal person.”

“I will be forwarding that on to LARA (Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs),” Boskee said, later noting “a tremendous amount of walkaways, disorderlies, and 911 calls to that facility.”

Boskee said “hopefully, the state will make some requests of that facility to increase security and staffing or do what it takes to reduce the call volume at that location.”

He did not identify the business by name during Monday’s meeting, referring to it only as the “group home” at 5699 Genesee Road.

State records show the facility is called “Harbor Point-Lapeer” and the licensee is Grand Rapids-based Hope Network Behavioral Health Services. No one answered the phone at the Elba Township facility Monday afternoon. A call to Hope Network’s communication director in Grand Rapids was not returned by press time.

Hope Network reported revenue of about $129 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016, according to its most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS. (Form 990s are public documents that must be filed by nonprofit organizations.)

The property in Elba Township is described in state records as a “ranchstyle building … situated on a large parcel of land and is set away from the road. The home is close to the city of Lapeer as well as the city of Davison and is in reasonable proximity to restaurants and the 1-69 expressway.

“This facility has a full kitchen and a separate dining room with seating for all residents. Off the dining room is a separate pantry and there is a locked laundry room equipped with a smoke detector off the South West part of the home. In addition to a large living room, there is also a ‘group room’ located at the North East end of the facility,” state records state.

The description also says “The Program Manager has an office off the living room hallway and there is a locked medication room with a dutch-door off the living room. The facility has nine resident bedrooms of which three are double-occupancy. It is equipped with three large full bathrooms, each with grab bars and shower seats. This facility has five independent means of egress. The furnace and hot water heater are located in the basement of the facility and are in a room that is constructed of material that has a one-hour-fire-resistance rating. There is a 1-3/4 inch solid core door equipped with an automatic self-closing device and positive latching hardware located at top of stairs. The facility is equipped with an interconnected, hardwire smoke detection system, with battery back-up, which was installed by a licensed electrician and is fully operational. This facility is fully sprinkled.”

State records also detail the intent of the facility’s operations.

Specifically, it aims to provide “24-hour supervision, protection and personal care to 12 male or female ambulatory adults whose diagnosis is developmentally disabled or mentally impaired, in the least restrictive environment possible. The program will include social interaction skills, personal hygiene, personal adjustment skills, and public safety skills. A personal behavior support plan will be designed and implemented for each resident’s social and behavioral developmental needs.

Further, “Residents will be referred from various Community Mental Health agencies across the state. If required, behavioral intervention and crisis intervention programs will be developed as identified in the assessment plan. These programs shall be implemented only by trained staff, and only with the prior approval of the resident, guardian, and the responsible agency. The licensee will provide all transportation for program and medical needs. The facility will make provision for a variety of leisure and recreational equipment. It is the intent of this facility to utilize local community resources including public schools and libraries, local museums, shopping centers, and local parks.”

The current license expires Oct. 7, 2018.

Early last year, state records show the facility was involved in two LARA investigations that found violations related to resident protection and handling of resident funds and valuables. The facility manager agreed to complete and submit corrective action plans.

In September 2016, state licensing officials also investigated facility operations after a resident walked away from it on eight separate occasions throughout the year, including three days in a row starting Sept. 10.

Among other things, the investigation found an alarm on one bedroom window not to be working, no alarm on the gate surrounding the facility, and that the resident was found almost four miles away and lying in a ditch that required police to intervene.

The resident was discharged and placed in another facility not long after the investigation. Harbor Point-Lapeer was not issued a violation.

Boskee said Elba Township has “probably 12 or 13” other adult group homes and that it’s important to note that the township isn’t “anti-adult group home.”

However, he said, while the township can initially approve how many beds such facilities can have, local municipalities can’t get involved in oversight.

Essentially, he said, that means that as the business has evolved over the last several years — and the number of problems has ramped up — the township has been relatively powerless.

“I was asked by township residents ‘what can we do?’ and ‘how was this ever allowed?’” Boskee said. “So I’m just doing what I was hired to do and making the state aware.”

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-01-10 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.