Mental health facility in Ewa concerns neighbors

EWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plans to open a transitional home for mentally ill patients have people in an Ewa neighborhood worried about crime and plummeting property values.

More than 250 area residents showed up at a meeting Tuesday night to hear from Mental Health Kokua. The non-profit corporation bought a home on Niolo Street in Ewa by Gentry. By the end of the month it plans to have six mentally ill adults living there while they work toward independence.

"I feel as though having a business in our community isn't a good thing for our community. And whether it was Mental Health Kokua or Burger King or Home Depot, I still would object," said Skip Duplechain, who lives next to the home now owned by Mental Health Kokua.

"There's lots of misleading information out there that leads people to believe that the people that we're serving are criminals, are dangerous, are sexual predators, are drug addicts. Not any of those categories are the people that we're serving," Mental Health Kokua CEO Greg Payton told the crowd Tuesday night.

Payton said all patients are screened, and no one with a violent history will be allowed.

Mental Health Kokua has been operating in Hawaii for 37 years. Payton says it has 26 similar homes around the state including eleven on Oahu.

"The houses that we have in the communities that we have located right now, most people don't even know we're there because it's a very low key operation," Payton added.

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