Wednesday, December 23, 2009

City may shut down group home for deaf teens

City may shut down group home for deaf teens

The City of Albuquerque could shut down a home that helps several deaf teens, because of a large number of police calls.

Police have been called to the La Familia group home for the deaf dozens of times, and the woman in charge says she’s doing the best she can.

The home sits on a quiet northeast Albuquerque cul-de-sac, meant to blend in with the neighborhood, but multiple police calls show that crime is standing out.

Back in June, a teen threatened to kill staff members, and in March, staff and a client were punched and slapped and a window was broken.

One neighbor said “It’s like living next to a mental hospital with a couple 7-11s thrown in for parking.”

The city says the excessive police reports are enough to warrant revoking the group home’s license, so the city will hold a public meeting next year.

La Familia CEO Beverly Nomberg says many of the teens have been abused or neglected, and all of them have communication problems.

Nomberg says she’s afraid the city will force them out of the house.

"Of course I'm worried that that could happen. Because then I have children living there that I have to figure out another place for them to live," she said.

She says they’ve taken steps to minimize problems in the house, including additional training for staff.

"We're very sorry if it's disruptive to the community and we've tried to minimize that. And we will continue to try to minimize that," she said.

The zoning hearing is set for January 11, then the zoning administrator will have 15 days to make a decision on La Familia’s future.