Halfway house proposed in Sherman

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

SHERMAN -- A group from Shreveport, Louisiana, who helps drug and alcohol addicts gets sober, wants to bring a halfway house to Sherman.

The organization, called Christopher House, wants to help more people in Grayson County, but in order to do that they must first get permission from the city.

After his son was killed by a drunk driver in 2002, Christopher House founder Chris Oki-Pinti set up a program dedicated to help rehabilitate those in need.

Now he wants to bring the program to Grayson County.

If you pass by it, you wouldn't know it’s there, but an old motel on South Travis Street is home to a recovery support group.

Soon it could be a new halfway house.

"Expand our offering to people just coming out of jail and we want to give them a place to come and actually make a go at it and make a better life for themselves, "said David Wayne Hensley, the house manager for the newest Christopher House rehabilitation program.

It’s an organization designed to help those in need get back on the right track.

Officials with the group say they were asked to come to Grayson County by the state of Texas because the region lacks this type of service.

They have been here since January. But now, they want to expand their program and make it a fully operational halfway house in order to help transition non-violent prisoners from their cell to the real world.

"We’re here to help any support we can get to help people get back on track anything we can do to help the community out. We're here," said Hensley.

But in order for that to happen, they must first receive a specific use permit from the city of Sherman.

"People make requests normally we have about twenty requests per month at the zoning board and certain uses require a permit."

Sherman Director of Developmental Services Scott Shadden says a halfway house must be located in a commercial district, and the city must allow for a public comment period in order to receive feedback from nearby residents.

"If it’s successful there, it will go to the city council for approval."

It’s a decision officials with Christopher House believe will be beneficial to the area. The organization's request for a standard use permit is scheduled to be discussed at the planning and zoning board meeting next Tuesday.

City officials ask those with an opinion to contact them at City Hall.

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