Titan Self Storage of Elgin, Ill., recently donated free use of a storage unit to an elderly woman who had to move out of Bowes Retirement Center, which was shut down after an investigation revealed horrifying conditions on site. Elgin police Officer Eric Echevarria, who spearheaded the efforts to shut down the home, contacted self-storage manager Terri Santiago on behalf of Bowes’ final resident, who feared she had no safe place for her belongings.
The owners of Bowes were accused of neglecting the elderly and disabled to the point of abuse. Fueled by complaints from concerned neighbors and police reports, a team of officials found the facility house residents whose needs were beyond the facility’s abilities. Worse, reports told of a place where bug infestation, moldy food, lack of food, fire-code violations and other atrocities were common. The home was officially closed as of Oct. 1, and its 26 residents moved on to new homes.
As one of five Elgin police officers involved in the city’s Resident Officer Program of Elgin (ROPE), Echevarria works and lives in one of the city’s distressed neighborhoods, providing police service as well as a role model for members of the community.
In addition to contacting Titan Self Storage on behalf of the home’s last resident, he and a fellow officer helped move her belongings into the storage facility.