A West Philadelphia personal-care home opened in 2013 by Movita Johnson-Harrell, supervisor of victim services at the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, closed abruptly last week after investigators responding to a complaint found no staff on duty and unsanitary conditions.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which regulates personal-care homes, moved the nine residents, eight of whom have mental-health problems, from the facility at 4066 Powelton Ave. to new locations last Thursday.

Movita Johnson-Harrell, interim supervisor of victim witness services at the time, during a news conference at the District Attorney’s Office in Center City in January.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff photographer
Movita Johnson-Harrell, interim supervisor of victim witness services at the time, during a news conference at the District Attorney’s Office in Center City in January.

The facility's nonprofit operator, Motivations Education and Consultation Associates Inc., had given the residents 30 days' notice that it would close May 30, according to an ombudsman's report on last Wednesday's investigation. The state had not been notified of the planned closure, though regulations require 60 days' notice.

"This was upsetting because people lost their home suddenly without real planning," Diane Menio, executive director of Philadelphia's Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly. "We can only hope that they can adjust to their new environment."

Johnson-Harrell, whose formal title under District Attorney Larry Krasner is supervisor of victim witness services and restorative justice, said by email that she resigned from her nonprofit effective Dec. 31 and directed questions to a person named Donte Lee, who did not respond to questions.

When state human services officials arrived at the personal-care home last week they were under the impression that Johnson-Harrell was the administrator. A Nov. 29 letter from the state's Bureau of Human Services Licensing renewing the license through Jan. 28, 2019, was addressed to Johnson-Harrell.

The latest 990 tax return for Motivations Education and Consultation is for 2016. It said the organization had $820,270 in revenue and $65,055 in net income. Johnson-Harrell was listed as president, with $76,350 in compensation. Motivations employed three of Johnson-Harrell's children, according to the 990. The organization has two board members in addition to Johnson-Harrell, but it did not identify them, as is required by IRS regulations.

Johnson-Harrell has a second nonprofit, the Charles Foundation, which was created in memory of her son, Charles Andre' Johnson, who died in January 2011 of gunshot wounds in a case of mistaken identity. The IRS approved the foundation as a 501(c)(3) in 2016, but it doesn't have enough income to file a 990.

The Charles Foundation website says: "Prior to his death, Charles worked full time in the family business, caring for over 100 chronically mentally ill adults." Johnson-Harrell did not respond to an email this week asking whether that family business was Motivations, which until last year had a second personal care home at 2105 W. Tioga St.

When human services licensing staff arrived at the property last week, they "observed multiple violations relating to unsanitary conditions, inoperable toilets and showers, bedbug infestation, unlocked medications, and disposing of missed medications," the ombudsman report said.

"The operator submitted a voluntary closure notice effective immediately upon advice from the department," the report said.

It is not terribly unusual for personal-care homes to close, but, typically, it's a longer process involving representatives from the state human services department, Community Legal Services, the ombudsman, and the local Office of Behavioral Health, said Lynda Pickett, assistant director of in-home support, ombudsman, and volunteer services at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

"Unplanned closures, though sometimes necessary for a resident's protection, are very difficult because it requires one to be uprooted unexpectedly from the place they consider home," Pickett said.