The D.C. government is to be congratulated on its decision to locate group homes in every neighborhood in the city, including Georgetown. For far too long these facilities have been concentrated in poorer neighborhoods where the residents felt powerless to protest.
When my husband and I lived at 12th and Euclid streets three years ago, there were five group homes affiliated with varius agencies in one block. It is high time other neighborhoods accepted prt of the responsibility for caring for unfortunate people in our society who are in need of supervision.
Some of the residents of Georgetown who are rushing to hire lawyers to fight the conversion of the Hurt Home into a residence for troubled adolesclents ought to ask themselves where they would like their own children to live if their children were mentally ill. Would they want their children to live in Shaw or Georgetown? I suspect the answer would be Georgetown, or Chevy Chase or AU Park or Crestwood or some other tree-lined, safe, upper-middle class neighborhood. Don't other children deserve safety and a chance to get away from a chaotic street environment?
My family and I now live in Chevy Chase. I would be happy to testify in favor of any group homes that the city plans to locate in our neighborhood, because I believe they belong here.
ANNE HEALY Washington
As representatives of an agency that has established numerous group homes, we counsel the neighbors of the proposed Georgetown group residence: become informed, be willing to hear the facts with an open mind and express your concerns. To providers of service, we say: educate, respond to concerns and be available on an ongoing basis.
The mentally disabled will live in our community in increasing numbers. Those who require supvervised or group living situations will be best integrated with their surrounding community if neighbors and providers take time to listen carefully and learn from each other.
JILL S. GRUVER
President, Arlington Community Residences, Inc.
Chairman, Board of Directors, Arlington Community Residences, Inc. Arlington