Clovis Residents Fight New Halfway Homes

April 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Angry neighbors in the Clovis area are joining together to ban a pair of halfway houses planned to take in sex offenders and other convicts.30 registered sex offenders and recovering drug addicts would live at the homes.

"I'll put it to you the way a guy described it to me. I don't want the next bill named after my child," said one neighbor.

The home people are most worried about is on McCall near Barstow, north of Clovis.

Halfway homes are designed to help convicts develop employable skills, teach self-reliance and honesty. There are currently 16 abuse treatment facilities and halfway houses in the county.

When news spread to this Fresno County community that one was going to open next door they were upset. It's not just one property that's getting attention; there are two of them.

Adrienne Houser said the part of Fresno County she lives in is filled with the sounds of kids playing and families trying to get away from the big city life. "Kind of our safe wonderful world out here has come to an end all of a sudden."

Houser lives by herself but if the house next door turns into a halfway home she could have 30 registered sex offenders, recovering drug abusers and convicts as new neighbors. "Suddenly I feel very vulnerable, I feel scared."

Her feelings are shared by her next door neighbor Barbara Paschal who only has this thin wire fence separating her from the proposed halfway home. "I think it's a horrible thing. It terrifies me. I do live here alone."

Dunamis Incorporated is the sober-living group based out of Houston that wants to turn this home into a 24-hour therapeutic community for convicts. Dunamis also has similar plans to develop a second halfway home at a location near Nees and Locan which would house 24-convicts.

Action News contacted the C.E.O. of Dunamis but declined any details on who would live here, how the facility would be run, and what neighbors could expect. The C.E.O., Orlando Gillam, did say " I understand and sympathize with their concerns."

Many of those concerned citizens who just learned of this a couple day ago met Sunday evening. "When we found out that there were going to be 30 recently released convicts moving into the area in one house it shocked us and we were very scared," said Gina Vertson.

"This is going to sound a little arrogant but I want the county to step up and become aware of what this is," said concerned resident Wesley Qualls.

Many residents said they will attend the County Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday to voice concerns. An official with County Supervisor Bob Waterson's Office said before any plans go through with a halfway home, the Planning Commission must first approve.


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