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Youngstown task force seeks closure of 3 group homes

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Housing Task Force has filed complaints with city and state agencies seeking the license revocation and the closure of three group homes operated by Alfreda Atkins.

Atkins said one of the homes in question, 3497 Kiwatha Road, never opened and another, 3520 Glenwood Ave., was closed in April.

Atkins said she’s living at the third home, 862 Canfield Road, and she’s working to take care of issues there.

The task force — a coalition of faith leaders and concerned citizens who seek safe, fair and quality housing in the city — has targeted properties its members consider are owned by bad landlords.

The task force filed complaints — including petitions with more than 100 signatures — regarding the three homes with the Youngstown City Health District and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The complaints against Atkins, operator of Faith Temple Community Outreach Homes, are for “gross neglect of the living environment and care needs of residents of these (three) facilities.”

Included in the complaints are:

l A Sept. 9 police report in which officers did a welfare check at 862 Canfield Road and smelled “a very, very strong odor of urine and garbage emanating from inside” and saw a resident with “dirty clothes (who) looked very unkempt in appearance.”

l A May 15 letter from the city health district to Atkins after an inspection two days earlier of the same address. That letter listed a “foul odor” from the “basement, where it was found that a resident had been (urinating) in the drain,” a lack of “adequate full-time staffing to ensure safety and care of resident,” “significant dirt and dust accumulation on floors and windows,” and a dirty refrigerator.

That letter also noted that the house on Glenwood Avenue had operated in the past as a group home without receiving proper licensing from the city.

The complaint lists problems at the Canfield Road home dating to 2016.

The task force seeks to have Atkins permanently banned from operating group homes.

Atkins said she’s “not responsible for the people in the group home. They can come and go as they please.”

She added that past problems at the Canfield Road home were the fault of workers, who have since been let go, and she’s living there to address the issues.

The task force members “don’t know what they’re talking about,” Atkins said. “They need to look up the rules and regulations. I’m doing a good job in the group home.”

dskolnick@tribtoday.com