Part One: Group Home Investigation - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Part One: Group Home Investigation



     It might be a growing trend, group homes where people who face disabilities live and need special care. Some worry there's a lack of oversight with some of them.
    These are homes that could be in any residential neighborhood. In some cases there are more than a handful of disabled people living there who need caregivers 24-7. Many of them blend well in the community. But concerns raised on some homes have city officials in Davenport taking a closer look.
    Brian Gall and his family have a few new neighbors as of the last several years. Two nearby houses are considered group homes where several people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live together and receive care through Home and Community-based Services from a specific agencies. Gall says the two in his neighborhood in particular haven't been the best neighbors.
     "Police have been up several times for the guy urination in the yard. I've had soiled adult diapers blow out of the trash can, bloody gloves come out of their trash into our yard," said Gall.
     Gall says he's most concerned about the oversight and level of care the staff members are providing because tense situations with both the residents and their caregivers have his 11-year-old son, among others, on edge.
     "He's concerned with it and won't sleep with his windows open at all."
     Several people brought up these concerns at a neighborhood meeting this week. After a closer look city and police officials say this is more widespread than they thought. 
     "We had been aware of this a little bit and all of sudden we didn't realize the magnitude and we've been meeting," said Davenport Police Major Don Schaeffer. He adds that there are more than 100 of these types of group homes in Davenport. Right now, the department is investigating if there are pockets of them in the city, the number and types of calls officers regularly respond to.
     "We want to look at this whole entire thing, not just one house, one neighborhood. We want to address this entire thing," added Major Schaeffer.
     City ordinance allows up to 8 people living in one home in a residentially zoned area. In many situations, the disabled residents rent the home and care is provided through state funds making them completely state regulated.
     "It's a residential neighborhood, in my opinion it's a business," said Gall.
     According to a Department of Human Services spokesperson, there's been a push to provide more Home and Community-based Services like this across the country, as an alternative to institutionalization. One such care provider says neighbors may be forgetting that her clients have every right to be in the community.
     "I'm feeling a little bit discriminated. Not myself personally, but for my clients who might not even realize it," said Mary Allen, owner of Allen Autism Behavioral Consultants and Group Homes.
     Friday night at 10 - KWQC's Bailey Deitz has part two of this investigation with details on regulations the in-home care providers have to follow and how city officials are working to gain more oversight and involvement.


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