HEALTH

Assisted living center shut down for ‘deplorable’ and ‘filthy’ living conditions

Jan 26, 2022, 6:41 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2022, 1:52 pm
(First responders sent to the scene of an unlicensed care facility in Midvale.  Photo: Kristin Murp...
(First responders sent to the scene of an unlicensed care facility in Midvale. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(First responders sent to the scene of an unlicensed care facility in Midvale. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

MIDVALE – Filthy living conditions, including raw sewage, are reportedly forcing the Salt Lake County Health Department to condemn an unlicensed care facility.  Investigators say conditions were so bad, they’re considering criminal charges.

The Salt Lake County Metro Mental Health Unit was asked to investigate the Evergreen Place in Midvale after health officials were notified of a major plumbing problem inside the home.  The pipes were putting raw sewage back into the house, but that wasn’t the only health and safety code violation investigators found. 

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera says conditions in the home were “deplorable.”

“My detectives recommended that I not even walk in there,” says Rivera.

Officers are not releasing many details about the kind of care residents reportedly received in Evergreen Place, but Rivera says the residents have a wide range of physical and mental health issues, and the facility managers had a responsibility to care for the people they housed.

(Residents’ belongings were placed in bags by health workers to be sanitized. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

“We’re going to be looking at some criminal charges, once our investigation is over, if the law has not been followed,” she says.

People who live near the facility say they’ve called police about the people living there, before.  Gene Montoya lives across the street, and he accuses people living or working there damaging his property and staring at him through his window.

Montoya says, “I’m happy the place is finally getting closed down, not only so I don’t have to fear what going to happen to me or anybody in my family, but so the gentlemen that lives there can actually get a better place to live.”

The health department has been working with the center’s owner to improve the sewage issue, but Dale Keller with Salt Lake Valley Environmental Health says there were too many other violations to ignore.  Crews had to wear hazmat suits just to walk inside the home, and the residents’ items were taken away in bags to be sanitized.

“[We have] the normal health concerns we would all have if we had microbial growth issues, sewage issues and bacterial issues.  Then, on top of that, we’ve got the COVID issue that we’re all concerned about,” Keller says.

The biggest chore for health workers is to find a new place for the 16 residents to stay.  Keller says they may have found some temporary housing outside of the county, but they haven’t had much time to find other places to take in these residents.

He says, “I’m afraid the health department was only aware of this facility just this week.”

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Assisted living center shut down for ‘deplorable’ and ‘filthy’ living conditions