Is it a group home, an illegal SRO or just some odd behavior from strange neighbors?
Homeowners on a quiet part of Lawton Avenue, between Revere and Calhoun avenues, are puzzled by the comings and goings of men entering and leaving one house on their block, 2853 Lawton Avenue, often acting in a callous manner and disrupting the calm aura normally pervading the street.
“These are just weird people who are aimlessly walking around, but we are not talking about a crime wave here,” assured one neighbor. “We really don’t know what this house is, and what these neighbors are doing.”
Robert Benedito owns the two-family house that the dozen or so men are seen entering and leaving, but declined comment as to who the adult men in their 40s and 50s are, and what their situation or mode of living is.
Some local residents, who fear possible retaliation from the large group of able-bodied men, think that Benedito is operating an illegal SRO.
“I am told the men entering and leaving this house are seen eating garbage from people’s trash cans and urinating in the street,” exclaimed Lynn Gerbino, president of the Throggs Neck Home Owners Association. “This is totally unacceptable. We want people who live in our community to respect it and their neighbors.”
Gerbino said she wasn’t sure if the men seen at the house have mental impairments, but believes there is a possibility that the house may be some sort of unofficial group home.
“I think it is a group home, operating within four blocks of the proposed group home at 2992 Lawton Avenue,” Gerbino insisted, hoping action will be taken if proven to be such a facility.
However, both the state office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability and the state office of Mental Health, though, have no record of any facility regulated by their agencies at 2853 Lawton Avenue.
Still residents are up-in-arms over the troubling home, further discussing its strange inhabitants, while demanding an investigation.
“There is a woman on the corner who is afraid for her personal safety because a man urinated right in front of her home,” said another anonymous resident of the block. “I have seen them panhandling on E. Tremont Avenue in evenings. They are causing the quality of life for all of us in the area to go down.”