Senator Debbe Leftwich
Chairwoman, Business and Labor
Senate District 44
For Immediate Release:
December 21, 2005
Local Lawmakers Call on DHS To Halt Plans for Group Home
A pair of Oklahoma City lawmakers is calling on the Oklahoma
Department of Human Services to halt plans to create a group home for
five unwed teen mothers and their children in a Southside neighborhood.
Senator Debbe Leftwich and Representative Al Lindley met with residents
of the area Tuesday night and vowed to do everything they can to keep
DHS from going forward with the proposed group home at 1329 S.W. 71st
“These are hard-working families who have played by the rules and
the government is sneaking in their back door. They’re angry that
there was no notification and believe DHS is skirting the law because
these homes are zoned for single family dwellings. DHS needs to re-evaluate
its proposal and locate this group
home somewhere else,” Leftwich said.
At a Neighborhood Association meeting Wednesday, Leftwich and Lindley
joined area homeowners in listening to an explanation of the plan from
eight DHS representatives. Homeowners recognize DHS’s need for space,
but they are angry and said point blank that they don’t want DHS
and its group home in their neighborhood.
The Senator has expressed her concerns to DHS Director Howard Hendrick.
The Democratic lawmakers are questioning not only the judgment of DHS
officials about where they want to locate the group home, but also about
how much is being spent for the property and renovations – not to
mention continuing upkeep and staff.
DHS has already purchased the property for $171,000 and expects to spend
a minimum of $30,000 or more for renovations.
“It’s beyond me why DHS thought they would not get objections
from neighbors, especially on the heels of highly publicized eminent domain
cases in other states. It may not be exactly the same thing, but it certainly
feels the same to these folks. It’s big government coming in without
any regard or consideration to the homeowners,” Leftwich said.
Local realtors have advised some of the area homeowners that the group
home could lower their property values by as much as 40 percent.
“I wonder if DHS is going to make up the difference for these families
since they seem to have all this extra cash around.” Leftwich asked.
Lindley joined Leftwich in calling on DHS to halt its plans.
“DHS officials saw first hand at Tuesday night’s meeting just
how upset the homeowners are. They should back off of this project and
do the right thing by these taxpayers,” Lindley said.
For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office- (405) 521-5557