Halfway house moves from Westview neighborhood after complaints

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by OTHELLO RICHARDS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 11:02 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A transitional home used to house felons in a Northwest Spokane neighborhood moved its occupants out after neighbors complained. 

Those neighbors were outraged when they found out there was a halfway house in their community. The transitional home was two blocks from Westview Elementary school and was within a one-mile radius from two other schools.    

READ: Neighbors share frustration over N. Spokane halfway house

The house had seven felons. None of the felons were sex offenders or convicted of violent crimes. They moved out of the home on Tuesday after staying there for only two weeks.

“You have people that you don't know that are called felons moving in, and it's just the fear of the unknown,” said neighbor Dan Miller.

Neighbors like Miller said they felt blindsided when a transitional house for felons opened up in his neighborhood without notice.

Emotions ran high when a director who ran the home held a public meeting.

WATCH: Neighborhood worried about new halfway house nearby

“When people talk, we listen. We always listen, and the last thing we want is to have negative surroundings. We want to be a positive program, that's what we are about,” said the home’s director, Terri Mayer.

Mayer said the board of directors for the OpenGate re-entry program decided to move the seven men out of the home. She said they based the decision on their desire to demonstrate that they are committed to being a responsible community partner. Mayer said the agency felt sensitive to the concerns of the neighborhood and the well-being of its clients.

“We sat down with the gentlemen in the house and, these are all men that are striving to do well, to not go back to prison, to have a successful life and to set them down and talk about this, we all agreed, this is in everybody's best interest,” said Mayer.

Mayer said four of the men were placed in permanent housing where they would sign a lease and have a landlord. She said the three others were in a safe place but she was not obliged to say where.

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