Jackson halfway house dispute

Jackson halfway house dispute
By: CJ Cassidy
JACKSON, Mo. - A weekend robbery and assault at a Jackson restaurant raises concerns about a half way house. It's something many of you have confronted in your own community. In just the past few months, we've brought you stories about halfway house complaints in Farmington, Poplar Bluff and now Jackson.
That's where police say the man behind that weekend attack lived --at a halfway house called the Revival Center.
There are two sides and sometimes even more to every story, and some people blame the folks running the Revival Center for the assault and robbery that took place there.
The Center's located just a few blocks away, and the people in charge, and the people who live there, say, one man's alleged actions shouldn't make them all look bad. "If it wasn't for this place - if it wasn't for Pastor Joyce - I'm sure I would be dead now," Stan Stocker calls the Revival Center his saving grace.
A former alcoholic, he says he turned his life around after Joyce Hungate gave him a free place to stay and clean up his act. Now he wishes former resident Jeremy Pearson had done the same.
Police arrested Pearson after an alleged assault and robbery at the Jackson Sports Grill this weekend. "It's a darn shame. The worst part of it is the negativity it brings to the Center and Pastor Joyce, and it's absolutely unfair," Stocker says. "We don't object to the place - we just don't want it in our neighborhood," Cherry Sue Birk, who lives a few houses down from the Center says.
Birk says her family suffered at the hands of someone else from the revival center several years ago. "They stole my husband's vehicle and demolished it," she says. "Two or three out of 3000 are not bad odds.. We've taken in 3000 people over the last eleven years, and there are always have some that fall," Hungate says.
Birk says she doesn't want anyone to fall - she just wants them gone. "We have to lock our doors because we're afraid. Never ever did we lock our doors," Birk says. "Prejudice is fear of the unknown. There are not bad people. We don't take hardened criminals or sex offenders," Hungate points out. "It could happen to anybody. No one is exempt from temptations. It doesn't have to be gambling, doesn't have to be drugs or alcohol could be anything - it could happen to any body's family," Stocker says.
The Revival Center owner Joyce Hungate says she's hoping for a second chance herself, as she looks for another place--- possibly Cape Girardeau -- to call home.
In the meantime, city leaders in Jackson say they just want the owner to go by the rules of a recent settlement that authorizes police to do background checks on everyone who wants to live at the center.