The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 9, 2013

Halfway houses under scrutiny

Panel examines facilities’ impact on crime in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN — A perception sometimes exists, rightly or wrongly, that when local halfway houses for convicted criminals or recovering addicts lodge residents of other communities in Johnstown, all the city is doing is taking on somebody else’s problems.

Part of the ad hoc Johnstown Drug and Crime Commission’s mission is to determine if there is any truth behind those feelings.

More specifically, the task belongs to the rehabilitation subcommittee, consisting of chairman Bill McKinney, the Rev. Sylvia King and state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown. Together, they are examining how, if at all, the facilities impact crime and drug use in the city. In the process of conducting research, they have learned about the perceptions by talking to participants in the programs and facility operators.

“I think, from the perspective of the persons that are housed in the facilities, (they have) a perspective on how the community views them and how they’re treated by persons in the community,” said King, pastor of Christ Centered Community Church in Kernville. “We are looking for a win-win situation. The community has to be able to support recovery, but we need to find the best way that we can co-exist together in an environment that will help uplift not only the persons who are in recovery, but help uplift even the community as far as educating them on the pains and the pressures that are involved in a person in recovery and realize that probably all of us have something that we have recovered from or need to recover from, regardless of what it is.”

Members of the subcommittee have met with representatives from Community Corrections Center, a halfway house for convicted criminals on Washington Street, along with two of the city’s substance rehabilitation centers, New Directions of Cove Forge and Renewal Center of Cove Forge.

“I think we got a good understanding of what they do, how they do it,” said McKinney, United Way of the Laurel Highlands president.

“And I think they, meaning the centers, have a good understanding of what the perceptions are of them in our community. I think it’s very helpful and very educational in both ways. I think the communication has been great with our group and these individual centers.”

The vast majority of halfway house residents are from outside Cambria County.

People, at certain stages of their stays, are given permission to go out into the community. Therefore, part of the reason for relocating them to a new city, such as Johnstown, is to get them away from their familiar hometown environments where they picked up the behaviors that originally landed them in trouble.

King has suggested the possibility of having residents participate in a welcome-to-Johnstown kind of meeting in which they would learn about the city before going out into it.

The subcommittee also pointed out that several individuals mentioned they would like to get involved in community service.

“They feel that would give them the opportunity to interact with people in the community, so that people in the community can get to know them because they feel that they’re perceived in a certain light and that is not necessarily who they are,” King said.

The rehabilitation subcommittee will use the information it collects, through interviews and data study, to produce a report.

It will be included in an overall collection of findings that the commission will submit to City Council, containing suggestions on how to address crime issues in Johnstown.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths April 20, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads