Northeast Times

Residents remain opposed to group home

In a word: No.

Start­Frag­ment

That’s the mes­sage Frank­ford and North­wood res­id­ents gave a man who wants to es­tab­lish a “per­son­al-care board­ing home” in a large Penn Street house.

They don’t want it and they won’t want it, they told Dea­con La­mont Pur­nell after he out­lined his plans dur­ing a packed North­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing at St. James Church on Ju­ly 17. And pub­lic of­fi­cials who at­ten­ded the meet­ing at Castor Av­en­ue and Pratt told the dea­con that they and loc­al civic or­gan­iz­a­tions were just not go­ing to back him and he should con­sider something else for his prop­erty.

Pur­nell said his non-profit In­nov­at­ive Treat­ment Al­tern­at­ives would op­er­ate a home for no more than 24 res­id­ents, who would get 24-hour, sev­en-day-a-week su­per­vi­sion. It would not be a drug-treat­ment fa­cil­ity, he said, adding that no ex-con­victs or sex of­fend­ers will be housed. Res­id­ents would have men­tal-health is­sues, de­pres­sion, de­men­tia and sub­stance-ab­use prob­lems, he said, adding that sev­en full-time and three part-time em­ploy­ees would be hired to care for them.

“We are talk­ing about a top-notch fa­cil­ity,” Pur­nell said.

However, it is re­cov­er­ing drug ad­dicts that res­id­ents don’t want on the prop­erty. Claim­ing Frank­ford already is sat­ur­ated with hous­ing for people with drug and al­co­hol prob­lems, neigh­bors pick­eted in front of the prop­erty at 4834 Penn St. on Ju­ly 6.

At the Ju­ly 17 meet­ing, one res­id­ent asked Pur­nell if he lived in Frank­ford, and when he was told he didn’t, the same man asked why Frank­ford was chosen.

Pur­nell said the build­ing was ad­vert­ised as a room­ing house. It is zoned as a mul­ti­fam­ily dwell­ing.

Pur­nell said he is ap­ply­ing for state li­censes for the fa­cil­ity, but said he can’t get them un­til he im­proves the prop­erty. Right now he can’t do that. The city’s De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions on Ju­ly 6 is­sued a cease-work or­der be­cause no per­mits had been is­sued.

In­nov­at­ive Treat­ment also needs a zon­ing vari­ance for the prop­erty to op­er­ate a per­son­al-care board­ing home, Pur­nell said.

Be­fore Pur­nell gets a Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment hear­ing, he would have to seek com­munity back­ing, which Frank Ben­nett, North­wood’s vice pres­id­ent, told him he’s not go­ing to get from his civic group or from Frank­ford.

“You’re go­ing to have op­pos­i­tion,” Ben­nett said. “You might want to have a Plan B.”

Pur­nell said what he was present­ing was his Plan B. His first pro­pos­al, which would have in­cluded drug-treat­ment, he said, was shot down by City Coun­cil­wo­man Maria Quinones-Sanc­hez (D-7th dist.). The per­son­al-care board­ing home pro­pos­al is the al­tern­at­ive.

Penn Street res­id­ent Veron­ica Daniel said she doesn’t want a board­ing home at 4834, but she also doesn’t want to see the prop­erty va­cant either.

But she ad­ded that the work done be­fore the city stopped it seems to be of a “qual­ity that is not at a stand­ard that is de­cent.”

“We are against a re­cov­ery home; we are against a per­son­al-care home,” state Rep. Tony Payton Jr. (D-179th dist.) told Pur­nell, adding Pur­nell should stop pur­su­ing a state li­cense for a board­ing home and “pur­sue an­oth­er busi­ness.”

Pur­nell’s pro­pos­al for 4834 Penn St. will be fur­ther dis­cussed at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Ju­ly 26, at the meet­ing of the North­east EPIC Stake­hold­ers in the second-floor meet­ing room of Aria Health’s Frank­ford Cam­pus, 4900 Frank­ford Ave., and at the 7 p.m. Aug. 2 ses­sion of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation at the same loc­a­tion. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus