Updated: Decision deferred on halfway house location

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 16, 2015

Updated 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, to clarify that the halfway  house proposal will not be affiliated with any prison program.

The halfway house proposal under consideration by the Troy Board of Adjustments would not be affiliated with prison programs and will not house inmates. Instead, the 10-bed facility would provide transitional living and support for men who have completed a faith-based drug rehabilitation program and who need assistance in transitioning back into everyday life.

Representatives from Riverview Baptist Church sought permission from the Board of Adjustments to build the 10-bed facility on Riverview Drive in the C4 Highway Commercial Zoning District.

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Dr. Malone Chandler was present at the meeting, and represented the case in place of Walter Stell who was not present. Malone said that the facility would provide housing for 10 men, but also provide something more for them.

“We will provide a controlled environment, and this is purely voluntarily,” Chandler said. “People will have completed rehab instead of going to prison. If they’re serious and we get good recommendations from the rehab, then we have the opportunity to decide if we would like for them to stay in the home.”

Chandler continued on saying that a home such as this would make a large impact on the Pike County community. However, Chandler did warn the program was strictly for individuals who had gone through a faith-based drug rehabilitation program.

“There is a need in this area significantly, but this is not for elderly, this is not for homeless,” Chandler said. “This is for people who have gone to a drug rehab at a faith-based facility and have come away with recommendation to enter into our program. We would like to have a priority for Pike County Residents, but it won’t be just Pike County residents.”

Bubba Campbell, one of the volunteer ministers with Riverview Baptist Church who oversees the drug-addiction ministry, said the ministry and the transitional housing seek to help men avoid relapsing after treatment, particularly since they might risk criminal charges and/or prison sentences if doing so. “We want to help them avoid going to prison,” he said, explaining that drug abusers who relapse often fall into a life of crime.

And after being prompted by several questions from board members, Chandler further advised the people coming into the program would be the “one that want to do right and need to do good but need a structured environment.”

Also present at the meeting was mobile home park owner Greg Avant, who expressed his concern for how the halfway house would affect his business and residents.

“I commend what you’re doing, but I just don’t know if we as a property owners can accept it,” Avant said. “I have a concern that it would negatively impact the income from the mobile home park. The people who live in the park aren’t going to know what’s going on over there. They’re just going to see what they see, and they’re going to make their own choices and they might chose to leave.”

Perry Green, vice-chairman of the board, said the board members wanted to be sure they were being fair to all parties before making a final decision.

“We may have to rule on this three or four times,” Green said. “We want to be fair to Greg, we want to be fair to the church. Even though we know it’s going to be a great thing we need to find more out about it before we make a decision.”