Local residents and government officials have blocked Life House Ministries from opening a site in Carpentersville, Ill., to provide housing and counseling for ex-convicts, the Chicago Tribune reports. The non-profit organization is being “sensitive to the community” by not renting two houses on Williams Street for the project, spokesperson Karen Swanson said.
“I am disappointed,” she said. “It’s been so troubling. There was a lot of misinformation, and it was hard to communicate what we’re all about, so people have fears.” Life House wanted to provide room and board for six men, excluding sex offenders, arsonists and repeat violent offenders recently released from Cook County Jail.
The organization is dedicated to helping former inmates rejoin society through a one-year program of life and job skills training in a supervised setting. About 300 residents turned out at a village board meeting to oppose it. Residents said they fear the ex-convicts would pose a threat to their neighborhood and would reduce property values. Residents formed a group called Citizens Against the Convict House or CATCH. Life House also faced criticism from village officials, who adopted a resolution opposing the project earlier this month.
“I’m glad they decided not to open a facility in our town,” Village President Mark Boettger said. “The concept is a good concept, but I think it should be on a farm, a more appropriate, acceptable atmosphere for a program like this. They said they were coming here for the cost. I think you can find a farm for a similar cost out in the country.” Life House plans to look at other nearby towns for its project, Swanson said.