Residents of Chimney Hill subdivision who are concerned about the location of group homes in neighborhoods met again with Columbia County and state leaders Monday night.
This time, the residents came armed with a list of "requested government action" - proposals to change everything from the way government deals with group homes to the way group homes can quietly move into a neighborhood.
"Nobody knew it was coming," said Rodney Benefield, who lives next door to a group home operated by United Cerebral Policy. Michael Eskew, a man living at the home was charged with attacking a staff member last month. "Nobody knew what it was. Nobody knew what to do if something went wrong."
Local officials said they're willing to look at the proposals and try to make some changes, if they can legally.
"Let's learn from our mistakes and be thankful this mistake wasn't as bad as it could have been," State Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, said.
Most of the people at the meeting agree that communication is the key to the relationship between residents and group homes.
"That's a big word, no matter where you sit in this meeting," County Commission Chairman Jim Whitehead said.
One thing Andrew McCollum - Region 12 Mental Health, Development Disabilities and Addictive Diseases Board Executive Director - tried to communicate was that Eskew would not return to the home. He is charged with stabbing a worker at the group home during an attempted rape last month.
"We could (put him back in the home)," McCollum said. "But we will not do that."
McCollum also said a little communication from the group homes to nearby residents would go a long way.
"Just because the federal mandate says you don't have to (communicate) doesn't mean it is a good idea," he said.
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