An independent living facility in San Diego’s College Area has been ordered to close due, in part, to its history of health code violations including infestations of vermin, bedbugs and cockroaches.
San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said Monday the “squalid” and “notorious” facility at 5128 Ewing St. was ordered to shut down by the Superior Court.
Over its 10-plus years in operation, the facility has been the subject of 297 calls for police service, most of which included suicide threats, disturbing the peace, and calls for psychiatric evaluations.
Before it was shut down, the 2,400 square-foot facility was home to 10 residents, many of whom were elderly or dependent adults with developmental disabilities, according to Elliott’s office.
A recent city inspection found vermin infestation, bedbugs, and cockroaches. There was also an illegal water heater pumping noxious fumes into the home, according to a complaint.
In December 2018, a resident was removed from the facility by family members due to unfit living conditions that allegedly contributed to the amputation of the resident’s foot, according to Elliot’s office.
On two other occasions that month, city inspectors found an unresponsive, unclothed resident in a “dirty trash-strewn bedroom.”
In April 2019, the city evacuated the home due to dangerous living conditions and made the property owners, Yuk Yuen Yu and Beatrice Yu, pay relocation costs for residents.
“Independent living facilities are often the only affordable accommodations available to some of our most vulnerable residents, and many are afraid to speak up about deplorable conditions or abuse for fear of retaliation,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “Our Office relies on the community to report unsafe living conditions so that we can protect elder and dependent adults and hold accountable those who exploit them for financial gain.”
The Yus, property manager Michelle Lin, and operator Mark Rogers were ordered to pay more than $267,000 combined in civil penalties, relocation benefits and costs, including $36,000 in victim restitution, according to the city attorney.
The group is also prohibited from operating or maintaining an unlicensed Community Care Facility or Residential Care Facility for the elderly anywhere in San Diego County and could face more than $1.1 million in additional penalties if they fail to comply with orders to cease operation of the College Area facility.
The City Attorney’s Office took legal action against the facility in November 2019 for alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code section 17200), maintenance of a public nuisance, and violations of the San Diego Municipal Code.
Elliott’s office said the case against the College Area facility is part of a larger crackdown on housing and independent living facilities that violate health and safety laws.