The proposed mental health facility receives mixed support from the council, community
A proposed drug and alcohol treatment facility in South Toledo has drawn opposition and support from community members and the city council, which on Wednesday heard concerns and praise for the Door Street project by Unison Behavioral Health Group.
The group appeared before the council’s planning and zoning committee to lobby for the approval of a special use permit, the construction of a 16-bed short-term residential facility for those recovering from mental health issues and drug or alcohol addiction. Will do The proposed facility will be east of Reynolds Road at 5044, 5048 and 5052 Doors. A similar proposal for the location by Unison two years earlier was rejected by the city.
Among those testifying before the council was Ebony Winston, the owner and stylist of nearby Doll House Salon, who raised concerns about the type of supervision patients would have and how it could affect neighborhood safety.
“Either way, I am concerned about the concerns of the neighborhood, I am concerned about the safety of our stylists, and their children, and the clients who come here,” she said.
The Toledo Fair Housing Center came to the meeting to demonstrate its support for the project and to address the issue of safety.
Sarah Jenkins, director of public policy, said, “I would emphasize that housing for people with mental health conditions and substance abuse will not stop crime, and there is a need to improve public safety without providing housing stability.” There’s no way.” Community engagement for the center.
Heather Stubbs, owner of nearby Myrtle Flowers, said she’s concerned about how the feature might affect a neighborhood she believes is growing rapidly.
“I think they’re trying to make this area a little bit nicer, and with something like this coming up people aren’t comfortable, I think it’s going to affect our property values significantly,” she said. “Once this SUP [Special Use Permit] is approved, that feature can always be there, and if this group is not successful, they can sell it as a facility like that, and who knows. Is that how the next guys will run it?”
Unison assured residents at the meeting that those seeking treatment would be structured and supervised, that the building would have cameras installed, and that there was a system in place to ensure that no one left the facility unsafe.
“When our customers arrive on day one, they are rules-oriented,” said Amy Kobold, vice president of business operations at Unison. “We take our regulations very seriously and our customers understand that, and they want to be there, so usually, we don’t have a problem with our customers.”
Councilman Sersandra McPherson raised her concerns with the location and the fact that the first Unison proposal had already been rejected.
“We have to listen to the concerns of the citizens and what they are saying, and if the citizens of that community are not saying, … we have to listen to that too,” she said.
District 4 councilor Vanice Williams expressed her support for the proposal. He said setting up a Unison-like facility in that area could aid the addiction recovery process, as opposed to placing another treatment program in his district in a city where crime is more prevalent.
“When I think about keeping individuals who are struggling with criminal backgrounds or drug-addicted backgrounds, I say, get them out of that environment so they can thrive,” she said.
Even in their support, he acknowledged that Unison needs to do a better job of communicating with the surrounding community and find ways to work with businesses in the area to build positive relationships.
The motion went to committee, and the matter is expected to be voted on at Tuesday’s council meeting.