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Disputed home for mentally ill shut down this week
Operator says site was a religious group, not personal care home
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The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday shut down what it said was an unlicensed local health care facility run by a Gainesville man who has a criminal background.

Reveckeyo Anwaan Hill, 29, was operating what he says was a ministry for mentally ill patients in need.

If the Georgia Department of Community Health determines Hill was operating an unlicensed personal care home, he could face civil or criminal penalties.

A statement from Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum said her office executed a search warrant at a house on Terrell Lane in Jefferson, where about 11 to 13 patients lived; Hill said it was 10.

The sheriff’s office, Adult Protection Services and other state agencies have ongoing investigations, Mangum’s news release said. Law enforcement seized computers, documents and bank records.

Attempts to reach Sheriff Office employees was unsuccessful.

The facility had volunteers and employees who cared for patients around the clock, Hill said. All the patients have been relocated with family members, the news release said.

Hill said the ministry, New Walk Ministries, didn’t have to be licensed by the county or state because it was a religious group where people could live if they were saved by Jesus Christ and attended church. Patients’ families were charged $600 a month, Hill said. The New Walk

Ministries moved to Jackson County less than seven days ago, he said.

Residents of the home attended St. Paul United Methodist Church on Summit Street in Gainesville, where Hill said he was a pastor.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Community Health confirmed the home wasn’t licensed, but declined to comment on what she said was an open investigation.

The state defines a personal care home as a place where the owner or manager provides housing, food and a personal service, which is not defined. It can be for-profit or nonprofit.

“(The ministry) was never known as a personal care home,” Hill said. “We never was a personal care home.”

Owners of personal care homes must undergo a criminal background check.

Hill is currently under house arrest after pleading guilty to forgery in the first degree last month. Court records said that he submitted false paperwork on a car he was financing. He was sentenced in August to six years in prison, required to serve 60 days in jail and stay on probation for about five years and 10 months.

He was also convicted in 2004 for impersonating a police officer.

Hill said theft or fraud never took place at the ministry.

“I want that on the record,” he said. “This is all my opinion. If we were not an African-American ministry ran here in Jackson County, this would not be going on.”

How the home came to the attention of law enforcement is unclear. The Sheriff’s Office said it was called to investigate an assault and noticed “numerous” state violations. Hill said he called the deputies because a mentally ill woman was having a breakdown and had to be restrained.

Hill, who said he was renting the house, said he was ticketed for a zoning violation and not having a business license, he said.

Hill is trying to find a lawyer and said he will provide a news release Monday.

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