History of Boarding Home Reform

As part of our ongoing advocacy efforts for appropriate housing for people with mental illness, in 2007, Mental Health America of Greater Dallas supported HB 1168, which authorized a study of boarding homes in Texas in preparation for the next legislative session. Researchers were charged to find the most effective methods for establishing standards, regulating facilities and clarifying authority of counties and municipalities in the area of boarding home regulation.

In 2009, Representative José Menéndez of San Antonio authored HB 216, which enacted many of the report’s recommendations. Chiefly, it authorized the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to develop model standards for boarding homes, and specified that Texas municipalities and counties have the authority to regulate boarding homes operating within their jurisdictions. HB 216 was incorporated into Texas statutes as Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 260.

In 2010, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission worked closely with mental health, substance abuse treatment, housing, senior and disability rights stakeholders statewide to develop definitions and model standards for boarding homes covering:

1. Construction and Remodeling
2. Sanitary and Related Conditions
3. Resident Health and Safety
4. Self-Administration of Medicine
5. In-Service Staff Training
6. Criminal History and Background Checks
7. Assessment and Periodic Monitoring of Residents

In 2010 through 2012, Mental Health America of Greater Dallas led advocacy efforts to urge the Dallas City Council to enact a city ordinance to implement boarding home regulation in accordance with the Texas Boarding House Model Standards. On June 27, 2012, the Dallas City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 28706. The ordinance became effective on October 1, 2012. On November 4, 2012, a day-long training was held for boarding home owners to provide them with information on the new licensing procedures. Applications for boarding home licenses became available on January 1, 2013.

In 2015, the ordinance adding CHAPTER 8A, “Boarding Home Facilities,” to the Dallas City Code; amending Chapter 33, “Personal Car Facilities,” of the Dallas City Code. It was amended on May 27, 2015