KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After more than a year of waiting, the state of Tennessee has yet to find a room at a long-term care facility for Knoxville man with severe autism.

In the last week, the 20-year-old’s father and stepfather rushed him to the hospital after a violent episode. Sean Homer’s stepfather says he and his wife are frightened and can no longer care for their son. They shared that while it hurts them to say that about Sean, he’s become difficult to handle. The 20-year-old has been diagnosed with the most severe form of autism and he’s been on a list since he was 16 to be placed in a home for those who need “special care.”

Homer is in the hospital after his stepfather said the 20-year-old had a violent episode last week destroying furniture and hurting himself while at his home in Knoxville.

“In the last three months, Sean has become aggressive, more aggressive than usual, even at school and especially at home,” said Freddie Smith.

Last October, Homer’s mother said it was difficult to handle her son. At 20, Homer has been diagnosed with level 3 autism. He’s nonverbal with few communication skills. Since birth, he’s lived at home with family, but at 6’4″, 250 pounds, it’s tough to manage him at home.

“I can’t take care of Sean by myself anymore. He is too hard to take care of. He is physically too hard,” said Wynn Smith.

“He has violent outbursts and almost anything can trigger it,” said Freddie Smith.

Homer’s stepfather told WATE four months ago they were fighting to get homer into a state-approved residential home.

“He’s severely autistic. In fact, the Social Security doctors said he is the most extremely handicapped, severe autism they have ever seen,” said Freddie Smith.

Currently, Homer attends Ridgedale School in Knoxville. He’s been a student at the public school for kids with special needs since he was 3. A letter from TennCare sent in January of 2022 states Homer is eligible for residential treatment.

“They’re coming up with zero. We’re coming up, we’ve run out of time. I can’t take him home. He destroyed his room. I have nowhere even to put him to bed,” said Freddie Smith. “He has destroyed his bed. It scratched his arms up. I thought there is no way he could tear this bed up. With his bare hands, he beat the top of that bed in and broke it.”

As a result, Homer hurt his hand.

“He’s become extremely dangerous at home. So, we can’t keep him at home anymore. My wife is afraid of him now, my daughter is afraid of him now. When he starts becoming agitated she has to run to her bedroom and lock the door,” said Freddie Smith.

In an email sent to WATE in October, TennCare said “Sean’s health plan continues to search for an appropriate placement. However, the nationwide workforce crisis is impacting the availability of providers.”

“We need a facility somewhere to take him that he can be cared for as well as we have taken care of him,” said Freddie Smith. “There is no room for Sean anywhere that can handle his needs.”

Freddie Smith said he’s been told by a hospital social worker, they’re trying to find a room for Sean. There’s also an advocacy group in Nashville that is assisting the family. Recently, Freddie said he was contacted by the director of a residential home in Chattanooga for possible placement, but it fell through.