The people of North Collins want answers after the state moved four sex offenders into their community. Two are living in a group home on Gowanda State Road, and sources say two more are living at undisclosed locations.
North Collins Town Supervisor John Tobia called a special town hall meeting Tuesday night.
Tobia says just like residents, he was not told the four men were coming to North Collins.
According to Tobia, Community Services told him that while the sex offenders are in the voluntary rehab program, they are under 24/7 surveillance and cannot leave the home unsupervised.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office has placed additional deputies on duty in North Collins.
Statement from Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled:
The following is a statement from the president and CEO of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled in regard to a community meeting tonight about a group home in North Collins. This will provide her only comment on the hearing.
“Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled [CSDD], a Buffalo-based agency helping developmentally disabled residents live full lives, often faces challenges in finding homes for clients. In Erie County alone, there is currently a waiting list of more than 700 of our neighbors whose families can no longer support them at home.
“CSDD provides support for more than 1,600 individuals already, many of whom live independently with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy or neurological impairment. At the direction of the New York State and its Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), CSDD already places carefully evaluated residents in group homes in 15 communities in Erie County alone.
“The new house in North Collins for four individuals follows all OPWDD protocols, enabling residents to live in supportive environments customized to their needs. These often include 24-hour staffing and, in the case of the town, included an advance informational tour of the home by elected officials and first responders.
“We understand, as professionals and parents ourselves, the concerns of townspeople about the criminal histories of some residents in our homes. But of the 1,600 people CSDD supports, only fewer than 10 are registered sex offenders. Statewide, only .29 percent of OPWDD residents are similarly classified. Under current laws, these individuals are best supported in this sort of a controlled, secure environment.”