The Star-News


Home for ill not welcome

Fri, Apr 09 2010 04:23 PM Posted By: Jon Campbell

Anna Dale is not happy about her new neighbors. An assisted living facility, which provides state-subsidized temporary housing for individuals with a range of mental health or substance abuse issues, has moved in next door to her home on Nita Court in Chula Vista. 

Dale says the residents have been disruptive, and she'd like them gone. The operator of the facility says they have good relations with the neighborhood, and they're just providing a service to people in need.
Dale said the problems with her neighbors started when one of the residents from the facility began pounding on her door with a rock.

The man seemed delusional, said Dale, and talked under his breath about "killing someone." Chula Vista police eventually took the man into custody on psychological grounds.

A few weeks later, Dale says, another one of the facility's residents walked through an unlocked door and into her home. "I was terrified, I didn't know what was going on," said Dale. She shouted expletives at the man, and called police. The confused resident, who Dale  said was not violent, but simply "out of it," thought he was entering the  assisted living facility next door. 

Dale says a third incident involving the facility was even more alarming. In  January, one of the residents of the home called paramedics to respond to a medical emergency, but when medical personnel arrived, the residents inside refused to open the door. One of them claimed to have a gun, eliciting a police response that Dale described as a "SWAT team." Half a dozen officers surrounded the home, and the street was largely cordoned off by police. The resident did not have a gun and there were no arrests made. But Dale says the facility is sowing chaos on a quiet dead end street.

Dale said the owner of the property, Barbra McDonald, has been  unresponsive to her complaints about the residents, and doesn't believe there is enough oversight of the residents there. She'd like to see the assisted living facility moved out of her residential neighborhood, but doesn't think the landlord who rents the property to the  facility's director is taking her concerns seriously enough.

"This is getting out of hand, what is she going to wait for, something really bad to happen?" said Dale.

McDonald said the incidents were being blown out of proportion, and all of the police responses have been "false alarms." She said she has tried to work with Dale to reassure her and the neighborhood, but that Dale isn't interested in cooperating.

"I told her I'm willing to meet with everyone in the area, these are people, like you or me. They're not pedophiles, they're not rapists, they're not murderers. She's taking something that could be a good thing and turning it  into a negative," said McDonald.

Capt. Gary Wedge of the Chula Vista Police Department said there was never any SWAT response at the facility on Nita Court, and that they don't consider the address to be particularly problematic. 

"There've been a few responses, but it's not really something that stands out on our screen," Wedge said.
The house has required a total of six police responses since November of last year, all but one of them generated by calls from within the group home. Residents at the facility called police over petty theft allegations; residents stealing from other residents.


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