Springfield Residents Sign Petition, Oppose New Group Home
SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — A number of Springfield residents have launched a petition drive to keep a psychiatric holding facility out of their neighborhood.
More than 70 homeowners signed the petition. Residents are worried the group home will damage their neighborhoods reputation.
“It’s their neighborhood. They pay the taxes. They maintain the neighborhood. It’s their quality of life and the feeling of safety. They ought to be listened to. City Hall better start listening to them,” said Kathleen Murphy from Springfield.
Four women between the ages of 17-22 will be re-located to the neighborhood. It will be staffed 24/7.
“It’s part of the application process that they contact the Civics Association, the residents, and none of that has happened,” said Frank Ryan, President of East Forest Park Civic Association.
Paul Edwards has been a resident of East Forest park for 50 years. He is worried about the kind of trouble the group home will bring.
“Children and seniors are not equip to handle those types of explosive situations…not equipped at all,” said Edwards.
The Mental Health Association talked with abc40 today. They said this is the second time they’ve set up a group home in a residential area and they’ve never had any problems.
“We operate group homes for intellectual disabilities, for adults with mental health conditions, we have specialty shelters. And they’re all in residential neighborhoods,” said Mental Health Association Executive Director Joan Ingersoll. “I mean the idea of the institutionalizing people and enclosing state hospitals and state facilities was to help people become members of their community and to integrate with other people and not be isolated and live disenfranchised lives.”
The Mental Health Association directors are inviting the neighbors to an open house before the women move in. They hope to address the residents concerns then.