Video: 'If you cannot guarantee my kids and my family are safe there's no place for that respite home being next to us'


Pressure is building for a mental health facility to be moved out of a Porirua neighbourhood.

More than 100 people turned out to a community meeting last night to voice their concerns about the halfway house in Whitby, which they say is putting families in the area at risk.

Residents are concerned clients living at a halfway house are putting families in the area at risk.
Source: 1 NEWS

Last Monday, a man just admitted to the Pathways respite unit allegedly tried to abduct a three-year-old girl while she and her father walked home from kindergarten on Exploration Way.

Residents have reported a number of serious incidents since the facility was established in 2005, including several home invasions, harassment and trespassing by Pathways residents.

Concerned father Andrew Sole told representatives from Capital and Coast District Health Board and Pathways at the public meeting that "If you cannot guarantee 100 per cent that my kids and my family are safe then unfortunately there is no place for that respite home being next to us."

The healthcare providers tried to reassure the group they were taking the matter seriously and articulated the importance of respite care.

Residents expressed their support for local mental health services, but say the facility should never have been placed by a footpath, that leads directly to the nearby school and kindergarten.

Adventure School principal John Wootton says he was never notified of the facility's existence. There've been 52 police callouts to the house since it was established 12 years ago.

"An area filled with children is not a logicial location, nor a humane one for both the Pathways patients and our own children" said resident Diana Kelly.

Pathways admits it doesn't have secure facilities and staff can't stop clients leaving the premises.

It's working with the DHB to investigate last week's incident but the community says they won't feel reassured until the facility is moved.

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