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Proposed group home in East Rochester sparks debate

Local News

EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)- East Rochester residents voiced their concerns at a town hall meeting Thursday night, about whether a group home for at risk youth should be allowed to move into an East Rochester Neighborhood.

The Villa of Hope, an organization that has three group homes already and has been around for over 70 years put an offer to purchase a former convent on Filbert Street in East Rochester. Residents are angry at the location because it is next to a pre-school and many residential homes.

The location used to be a living quarter for catholic nuns and is owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph. It is deemed as a single family residence by the town, meaning the organization can purchase it and it doesn’t need to be voted on by the village board.

The Villa of Hope wants to house eight at risk youth in the Filbert Street location. 

Residents like David Morabito say it’s a bad location.

“The village has to realize and I’m looking over at our village representatives that they have a duty to protect our children in this community first, before we protect the other children and this location is not right,” Morbito said.

Christina Gullo the Executive Director and CEO for The Villa of Hope said their realtor found this location and it’s the perfect fit.  She says the kids who will live in the East Rochester home  are between the ages of 16 and 21. They must go to school or work and are under 24-hour supervision for the youth and have a 10p.m. curfew. There is also a stringent process these teens go through to be able to live in the home.

“Sometimes we are the only advocates for these young people,” Gullo said. “Young people who have been in and out of foster care and have little to no family.”

Many folks like Rocco Platino stood up for the organization.

“All the Villa is doing is providing a structure, having people who care about them there, it’s what we had growing up,” Platino said.

The Villa of Hope said they’ve had a 100% graduation success rate and youth who have gone on to college and into the workforce.
They recommend those who are uneasy about their move to come into one of their group homes and meet the kids.
Although the Villa did already make a purchase offer for the East Rochester location, they plan to take the feedback from residents  into consideration. 

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