Catholic diocese to moving ex-prisoners' transitional living center to church campus

November 9, 2012 8:37:05 PM PST
A decision by the local Catholic archdiocese is causing a lot of concern in a southeast Houston neighborhood.

It is moving a transitional living center for former prisoners to the campus of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is a cornerstone of the community around Hobby Airport. But plans for one of the church's empty buildings is making dedicated parishioners angry.

"Our worry is that something can happen to one of our children, it's really a safety thing with us," nearby resident Anita Serrano.

Serrano is worried about the relocation of Angela's House, a transitional housing facility for women recently released from prison. It's currently located on Houston's north side, but the parish considering a relocation on to the church's property.

Houston Councilman James Rodriguez says it's not what neighbors want.

"I think it's a great program, I just don't know if this is a best fit, here in the middle of a residential community across the parking lot from a church; you have several elementary schools," Rodriguez said.

In a statement, the facility says it's not a halfway house and that "all residents have already completed mandated supervisory programs and are free to live wherever they choose."

And its current neighbors say they've had no problems with the women.

"They wave to us all the time, they're nice. They're nice to the kids, they don't really do nothing," said Tricia Green, who lives by the current facility's location.

But neighbors near the church are still concerned. They've scheduled a community meeting next Thursday.

Meanwhile, the archdiocese has hired a PR firm to help them with this transition.


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