Concerns about overcrowding at Morristown group home

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) - A viewer reached out to WATE 6 On Your Side with concerns about a group home in Morristown. Seniors in need of 24/7 care are staying at Sister's Love Group Home located at 2009 Murray Street. At one point there were 15 people living there, but currently there are 12. The space is less than 1,500 square feet.

"I am all for people taking care of people. That's what I do but I feel it needs to be done responsibly," said Stephanie Hamill.

Hamill was concerned about the care of these seniors. She's been a social worker for 30 years and stopped by to see a woman about coming to her hospice facility called Serenity House. She said she was appalled to see so many people who need assistance living in this house.

"My biggest concern was where are all these people sleeping? How are they being cared for?" she asked.

Jennifer Green and her family opened the group home in 2016. Two to three people live in a room and she said Adult Protective Services drops off seniors when they need a place to go.

"We have 24 hour care. We have two people here 24 hours a day and then during the day, we have three to four people here," said Green.

They also have maps posted around the home to show the nearest exit in case of an emergency. They group home said it does not have a state license but it is working to get one. Green's cousin, who also helps take care of the seniors, said they have 12 people in this home because there is a need for this facility in the area.

Steve Neilson, the planning director for the City of Morristown, became aware of the group home when Green visited him six weeks ago. He was appreciative Green came to him on her own but he said the facility does not meet building code standards.

"We are notifying them and trying to bring them in, talk to them about what codes they have to meet," he said.

However, Green said no one from the city has come over to the facility to check if they are meeting code standards. She has a meeting with the city on Thursday. Sister's Loving Group Home said it's willing to change anything to keep running. One daughter of a resident believed her father was getting great care.

The Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services are coordinating a visit to follow up on the complaint. The Department of Human Services said it is against policy to assist in relocation of people to an unlicensed facility.

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