Has Southfield, Michigan Closed the Door on Group Homes?

Group homes are not new.  For decades these neighborhood businesses have served the mentally ill, those with developmental limitations, those recovering from catastrophic injury and the medically fragile elderly.  Often these are smaller residential care environments, with as few as 3 beds.  In the State of Michigan they are called group homes and operate under Public Act 218.

Local municipalities, cities, counties and townships typically cannot interfere with the establishment of a group home.  This is normally true as long as the number of beds planned does not exceed six, (6).  Some have tried to interfere, including the Grosse Pointes, usually failing in their efforts.  Arguments against group homes have included the potential of the home:

  1. Adding danger to the neighborhood
  2. Negatively impacting property values of homes around the group home

In Southfield, Michigan matters are being handled a bit differently right now.  After we began to hear of local fire regulations being applied to small group homes a bit differently than others we looked into it.  The actual caveat?  Small group homes are not state required to have sprinkler (fire suppression) systems like larger group homes do.  This has long been the case with the 1-6 bed, small group home model.  This is not the case in Southfield.

When discussing the issue with the State of Michigan we were told as recently as March 15, 2018:  “The City of Southfield has decided unilaterally to impose the sprinkler requirements on small group homes.  The State has decided not to interfere with their local position.”  The City of Southfield, through a member of their Building & Safety Department remarked:  “We have a right to enforce our own safety standards for various business models and right now the State of Michigan has chosen to present no legal challenge.”

Off the record an employee in the same city department advised:  “Enough is enough.  Its no secret that group home owners have not been the most responsible citizens of the business community.  The citizens of Southfield speak rather loudly on this.  Without being accused of violating the civil rights of anyone, these new fire regulations will accomplish limiting the number of homes locating in the City of Southfield.”

So there it is.  Accordingly those who contemplate operating in this city need to be prepared to finance fire suppression or look elsewhere.  These systems could top $20,000.00 in cost.

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Note: Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc. is a private organization that provides training and assistance to community care providers and prospective providers in matters of continuing education, business development assistance and general information workshops. We are not regulators.  We do not seek to replace regulators. We are not competitors of regulators.  Neither do we recommend a provider of care or prospective provider of care ignore the advice and direction of regulators.  This is not our role.  Additionally for those we assist with accreditation please remember this is a collaborative process that takes times.  Step-by-step we will lead and require your input and cooperation.  Many of our training workshops are approved as continuing education units for adult foster care group home licensees and administrators, personal care homes, adult family care homes and other assisted living models. As such, many of our training products do incorporate the review of regulatory statutes, administrative rules and laws that pertain to the provision of care, all of which is readily available to the general public. We are not a governmental entity and our programs must never be viewed as a replacement or substitute for State or federally sponsored orientations, licensing preparatory meetings or any other government sponsored or governmentally mandated educational event or training. Additionally, approval for continuing education courses does not in any way constitute a governmental endorsement of other services provided by our company or any of its affiliates.  Furthermore, attendance at any of our live sessions, use of our self-study materials or online/virtual school and any technical assistance we may offer must never be viewed as a guarantee of potential business success, elimination of liability or specific financial gain. It is the responsibility of the individual business owner to work toward and create a pattern of success for his/her business entity.  While we make a concerted effort to offer quality advice and teach providers the highest levels of quality customer service, clients must not look to our company to ensure they are successful as community-based care providers.  We cannot guarantee how long it will take to attract clients or residents and we will not assure a particular lifestyle from your business efforts. Please note that licensed adult foster care group homes in Michigan who have contracts with community mental health agencies may be obligated to receive all direct care worker and medications training through that agency or the training organization they specify.  Check with them before calling our company to enroll in training programs. 6% sales tax charged on all self-study products in the State of Michigan.  Information provided in our workshops is up-to-date and accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief.  Sample forms used in live training sessions and the online/virtual school may bear the name of certain waiver agents but must in no way be interpreted as an implied endorsement by any agency or governmental department.  If a live class paid for is missed, no cash refunds will be made, however a credit will be issued allowing you to attend a comparable event within one year of payment.

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