Former resident of Summerbreez speaks out

Posted at 2:02 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 17:44:21-04

The Summerbreez group home, that housed a 16-year-old boy who was arrested on suspicion of stealing a gun, accidentally firing it twice and causing a seven hour stand off Wednesday, "does good things" according to a young man who used to live at Summerbreez.

Steven Allbee said he lived at Summerbreez back in 2009 when it was in a different neighborhood.He was 16-years-old and came there from another group home that housed more than 60 kids.

"She tries in any way she can. I was at other group homes where I didn't see the effort made by the administrator, or by the staff," Allbee was referring to Veronica Branch, the director of Summerbreez.

"You can do years of good work, and all it takes is one very nasty thing like this and everyone will forget it because of the hysteria," Allbee said, referring to the seven hour stand off Wednesday night.

Allbee faced a scary situation in Summerbreez before it was in The Oaks, "I had a knife held to my throat by somebody who thought it was a joke."

He said his sense of safety was warped in these group homes, but felt the staff at Summerbreez could handle the kids.

Allbee said the boys who come through the group home have all kinds of backgrounds, "they can stem from anything from their own criminal history to being abused, to being neglected... verbally, physically, sexually."

He explained it is hard for these boys, who have nothing, no friends, no family, no home, to be "plopped" into a nice neighborhood. "People have their happy home situated around this one home, where these youth have never known a happy home," Allbee said.

Branch said this particular youth home is licensed to care for up to six boys ages 12 to 17, and she and the staff often complete surveys in the neighborhood to see if there are any concerns.

"Instead of judging them, realize they have shortcomings, that is why they are placed in the program, they need help. If you want to do something, help the children," Branch said.