ONTARIO, Calif. (KABC) -- Residents in Ontario Ranch are not welcoming the idea of a home they believe is operating as a halfway house in their neighborhood.
They learned of the home recently after fliers were posted throughout their community, which led to protests outside the home.
"It's like, 'Oh my God,' this is scary because I walk past that house almost every day with my daughter," said neighbor Danielle Sanchez. "I have to pass that house to get mail. So, it was really unnerving."
The home is registered as a nonprofit known as The Welcome House, which operates as a supportive group home for those dealing with mental illness, which also includes sex offenders.
It was the number of sex offenders registering the home's address that caught the attention of the Ontario Police Department.
"We were made aware of this house during a registration of a sex offender," said Ontario PD Ofc. Ermes Maqueira. "One of our clerks noticed that there was a pattern of subjects using that address as their registered address."
During a compliance check at the home, police arrested a sex offender for a non-related warrant out of Riverside County. The other occupants of the home are not registered sex offenders.
An attorney representing the Welcome House told Eyewitness News the placement of clients at the group home is done through Telecare, which works with the San Bernardino County Forensic Assertive Community Treatment, also known as the FACT program.
The program's website states it serves adults who are on probation with the mental health court, but excludes violent offenders and parolees.
But on the Megan's Law website, a sex offender registered to the home in 2022 did have sexual battery on his record with a high chance of reoffending.
"I understand halfway homes need to be a thing, I get people need to get on their feet, but if you are not doing it the right way, and in a community like this, it's just not the place for it," said Sanchez.
But California's housing laws do permit residential supportive and transitional housing, as does federal law, which considers the clients within The Welcome House to be protected as disabled since they cannot live alone. Still, residents believe the home is not a fit for their community.
"I am hoping they can just leave the community because this place is not a place for convicts, and sex offenders, and pedophiles, too many families, too many kids," said Sanchez.
The attorney for The Welcome Home said going forward; they will not be accepting sex offenders for their own safety due to recent protests outside the home.
He also said they are investigating how a client with an active warrant was placed at the home.
As for the remaining residents there, they have requested to be moved.