If you drove by the blue, single-story Walthourville house, you’d likely never notice it and you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell it’s at the center of a heated debate.
The non-profit, Emanuel Loving Arms Residential Child Care Inc., is trying to turn the three-bedroom home into a maternity group home for pregnant teenage girls with nowhere else to go.
But neighbors like Cricket Moser, who lives next door to the proposed site, are worried it’s going to bring a lot of issues.
“Baby daddies, parents, you can’t keep them from communicating with their families,” said Moser. “Every house has drama and no matter if it’s that or if it’s a [regular] home you’re going to have drama and you can’t avoid that.”
If approved, the home would provide healthcare, housing and even educational support to several pregnant teenagers hand chosen by the government for the first eight weeks of their pregnancies.
While E.L.A. has already gotten approval from Liberty County for conditional use of the house, the Walthourville City Council voted not to approve the project, citing complaints from neighbors.
But the non-profit’s COO Mary McCray doesn’t think they fully grasp what benefits it would could provide and tells News 3 that E.L.A. is appealing the city’s decision.
“If somebody cared enough to give them a chance, don’t you think that would change their attitude? Change their way of life?” said McCray.
Because of the ongoing appeal, the Walthourville city council was unable to comment, but the city attorney said they will be holding another public meeting in September or early October and will then re-vote.