Mesa County allows group homes to house 2 more residents each

A residential group home that houses sexually abusive youth between the ages of 12 and 18 will be allowed to increase the number of people living together in the home by two.

The Mesa County Commission voted unanimously Monday in favor of the change allowing residential group homes — assisted living, treatment and small group living facilities — to house eight residents and two staff members.

The code previously allowed for six residents and two staff members.

Within the city of Grand Junction, residential care facilities can house eight people, according to Mesa County.

“It just makes it more financially feasible to open another program,” Meri Miyasaki, program director for Hand Up Homes for Youth, said of the change to county code.

Hand Up Youth Homes, which has only one residential group home in the state, operates a facility in Whitewater. The group home, which opened in 1999, was housing 12 sexually abusive youth, twice as many residents as county code allowed.

Miyasaki said the home in Whitewater was approved prior to county codes limiting the number of residents.

The home will continue operating with 12 residents, who have been placed into the care of the home by either the Department of Human Services or the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections.

The change requested was not so that Hand Up Homes could close and open a new location. The request was made so that the organization can open an entirely new facility somewhere in the Grand Valley, she said.

“We would be serving a different at-risk population,” Miyasaki said.

The new home may not deal with sexually abusive youth, but it will be housing “adolescent boys,” she said.

The change to county code does not change any other requirement governing the permitting process of these facilities or their day-to-day operations.

Mesa County does not have a comprehensive list of approved residential group homes in Mesa County, said Christie Barton, a senior planner with Mesa County.

The county does have the ability, though, to tell residents if any of the homes are located near them, she said.


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