Cameron Co. Residents Oppose Transitional Housing Plan

We recently reported on the Transitional Housing plan drummed up between Potter, Elk and Cameron counties, that would give some inmates an opportunity to be released into an environment that would possibly help them overcome their addictions.

Now, residents in Cameron county, where the housing unit is to be located, are protesting.

The following is from the Courier Express.

Cameron County residents sent a clear message earlier this week over establishing a transitional housing intended for substance abuse offenders in Cameron County. They don’t want it.

Some think a spot in Elk County for the nine person-occupancy facility should’ve been considered instead of the for-sale Prospect Motel on 673 Sizerville Road, about half a mile north of Emporium. The nine units and ranch home, built in the 1960s, has a price tag of $100,000 as listed on the Crown Realty Services website.

During Tuesday’s Shippen Township Supervisors’ meeting, some residents said they fear the location is too close to a playground, Little League baseball fields, and homes. The housing agenda item consumed about two hours, with about 30 people in attendance.

A handful of agencies, including mental health and local prisons and jails, are on-board with the Comprehensive Regional Adult Forensic Treatment program, which would help offenders re-enter society. Warren State Hospital is also a partner.

The concept grew out of a plan partly started three years ago by the Cameron County Ministerium Association, which proposed an emergency men’s homeless shelter in the county. When that plan fell through, focus shifted to providing support to offenders.

Some local residents who get out of jail return to jail for committing the same offense that put him or her there in the first place, said Cindy Zembryki, administrator of the Cameron-Elk Mental Health/Mental Retardation program.

Offenders hang out with the wrong crowds. They gravitate toward bad situations. They put themselves in the wrong places. Or they remain in jail because he or she has no place to go, she said.

Fifty-two percent or more of people with mental or substance abuse problems return to local prisons, and the plan could be key in curbing this problem, she said.

This project would be advantageous, Zembryki, who is spearheading the project, said.

“The township is not going to support it,” Shippen Township Supervisor Phil Brown said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s obvious we (community residents) don’t want it.”

Read entire article here.

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