Some East End residents upset over halfway, rooming houses

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by Vicente Arenas / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM

HOUSTON -- Trying to make kids forget a nightmare isn’t easy.

“I am scared,” Sara Soto said.

In the middle of Thursday afternoon -- in the heart of the city’s East End -- a man tried to kidnap a girl not much older than Sara right in front of her home.

The 12-year-old victim was not hurt, but some neighbors are still up in arms over what they call halfway and rooming houses.

“We’ve known for years that the East End is overly saturated with halfway houses and this creates an unacceptable environment,” Esther Campos, an East End resident, said.

The suspect in the attempted kidnapping case ran straight for a rooming house, but he doesn’t live there.

Carmen Matos feels the place is being unfairly targeted.

“It is a good place. I have wonderful neighbors. We’re like a family,” Matos, a rooming house resident, said. But others who live around here worry.

Neighborhood activists said there is a high concentration of sex offenders in this area. They said there are people coming and going from group homes all the time, which makes it hard to tell who’s a resident.

“It seems like you just can’t get rid of all of them and when you have a concentration of five or six people in the same house it does create problems,” Campos said.

The Sotos live next to a group home. They have seen police come and go. It’s been rough, but they have nowhere else to go.

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