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Published on May 20, 2024
Houston Mayor Decries 'Deplorable' Conditions at Independence Hall After Storm Leaves Elderly Without PowerSource: Google Street View

Houston's Independence Hall apartment complex has come under fire after Mayor John Whitmire slammed property management for what he called "abandoning" residents following a power outage caused by Thursday's severe storm. Reports from ABC13 highlighted that the outage left vulnerable residents, many of whom are either elderly or disabled, without life-sustaining services such as oxygen and the means to conduct dialysis treatments. Mayor Whitmire was direct in his criticism, stating, "It's deplorable. Nope, they abandoned them."

The electrical failure, which lasted from Thursday to Sunday, forced at least two residents to be transported to the hospital, one with dialysis-related issues and another suffering from dehydration, the Mayor revealed. Resident Rosalie Juarez told ABC13 how the lack of power meant she couldn't charge her electric wheelchair, while her neighbor Lucy Johnson, battling cancer and menopause, resorted to sleeping in her car to escape the oppressive heat inside her apartment.

The complex's management defended their actions or lack thereof, sending out a statement on Monday to KHOU 11 claiming their employees were on-site since the day of the storm, working diligently to aid residents despite no supportive services or meals being provided by the property regularly as it is an independent-living apartment complex. They also cited that power was restored by late Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mayor Whitmire did not mince words when he said the storm only exposed deplorable conditions of the property that had allegedly suffered from neglect over the years. On Sunday, he vowed to secure both immediate and long-term care for the residents, while expressing concerns if criminal neglect was a factor, despite prioritizing life-saving measures first and foremost according to an interview with ABC13. His office announced plans to reevaluate the property's condition Monday afternoon, leaving many to wonder what next steps will be taken to prevent such a scenario from happening again.