Isanti Co. Community Fights Against Building a Residential Treatment Home

Updated: 03/09/2014 4:36 PM
Created: 03/08/2014 7:35 PM
By: Brandi Powell

 Two new group treatment homes are slated to open in Isanti County this month.

One of the new state-run residential treatment homes will open close to Calvary Baptist Church and a school.

The Department of Human Services says they're designed to offer intense treatment for people who have special behavioral and mental health needs, but a group of Cambridge residents is against one of the homes going up.

Two state lawmakers were at a meeting about the issue on Saturday.

Some people who call Cambridge home, say they don't want a residential treatment home to open in their community. They say that's because some of the people who will live there, will be coming from places such as county jails or homeless shelters.

"They need to understand that we have rights too, that they can't just do whatever they want," Cambridge resident Paul Anderson said.

"This church right here happens to have a school, and you're like a school, they're going to put this right here next to a school?" Cambridge resident Rich Schomer exclaimed.

"I don't want to worry that when I leave my kids for school, if I'm going to get a phone call saying something happened, or if they're going to be safe," added Cambridge resident Rose Holt.

The Department of Human Services says it's safe and secure. If someone inside tries to get out, an alarm will sound, Anne Barry, Deputy Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Human Services said.

"I can't sit here and guarantee you or the public that anything won't go wrong, but what I can tell you is that people with developmental disabilities, people with mental health issues, people like the clients we're serving are currently being served across the state," Barry says. "People have a right to live in the community. That's the law."

Representative Brian Johnson and Senator Sean Nienow were at the meeting in Cambridge. They're working on a bill that would require complete and detailed notification to community members.

Fifty Cambridge residents signed a petition that they plan to send to Governor Dayton to try to get him involved.

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