A group of residents living around North Gleneagle Drive don’t want a resident of a nearby halfway house walking around their neighborhood, fearing they may get hurt.
But management at the halfway house, say the man isn’t bothering anybody.
Coy Batten and Elvin Johnson spoke out during public comment at last week’s council meeting, pleading with members of the council to do something about the man walking on their streets.
The halfway house is in the 1500 block of Kelly Road.
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Batten said he had been hearing for weeks that a man from the halfway house was walking around his neighborhood through people’s yards and sitting on their porches, asking for money.
He said one day the man came to his yard asking for him.
“I kind of suspected what it was about, and I was not nice,” Batten said. “I went out and said ‘What are you doing here.’ He said, ‘Well I’ve come to see you.’ I said ‘I don’t know you and you don’t me and we don’t have any business. I said ‘I don’t have any money to give you, I don’t have any food to give you and the best thing you can do is get back on the street.”
He said after a few more words the man walked off. Batten asked the council for advice and help.
“He’s walking out in yards with women out and it’s just not right,” Batten said.
Johnson, 83, said the same.
He said he drove into his garage one day, and when he got out the car he noticed the man was right beside him. The man asked him for food and money, Johnson said.
“It scared the daylights out of me,” Johnson said. “I mean he’s bigger than I am. I’m 83 years old and I can’t handle things like that. I have a daughter who enjoys gardening and I don’t want this going on in my yard or my neighborhood.”
Town council members asked Johnson and Batten how many people were walking the street. They also asked if they could clarify whether the man actually lived in the halfway house.
But the two men were not sure.
Town manager Hardin Watkins said he would get the police to look into the matter.
The man did live in the halfway house.
And Cordelia Akagha, the owner of the property on Kelly Road and principal of Bradley Home, the halfway house, said the man is harmless.
“He wasn’t bothering anyone,” Akagha said. “But we told him not walk around anymore. When they see people like that, they get scared and paranoid. He’s not dangerous to anyone. He just walks around.”
Akagha said Bradley Home is a group home for people with mental illnesses. It is licensed by the state department of health and human services as a mental health facility. She said the man has freedom like anybody else.
“That’s his neighborhood too,” she said. “He doesn’t ask them for food. He may have asked them for money to pay for cigarettes because he smokes. We give him food.”
Akagha said the house has several residents and several supervisors, but she wouldn’t clarify how many. She said they will now watch the man more often and allow him to walk in the back yard.
Chris Clayton, a spokesman for the police department, said the police looked into the case but determined the issue was not “prevalent or ongoing.”