This Wednesday, October 14, there will be a community engagement town hall meeting to discuss sober homes and responsive actions that policy makers can take to balance the issue. The town hall will be an opportunity for residents to engage early in the discussion and offer local solutions to community needs and challenges.
What’s the skinny on this issue?
- Many towns and cities have attempted to regulate sober homes, but have found themselves restricted by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as federal fair housing laws.
- Sober homes, or halfway houses, are not regulated by the state since they do not provide treatment. And because alcoholism and addiction are recognized mental disorders, people who suffer from these conditions are protected under the ADA.
- In February 2015, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, told a group of mayors and other municipal officials from her district that she had asked Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro and officials in the Justice Department about ways to help local governments regulate sober houses without violating federal law.
- In June 2015, Governor Scott signed the “Sober Home Bill” into law. This bill establishes a voluntary certification program for recovery residences and recovery residence administrators. It prohibits licensed substance abuse treatment providers from referring patients to recovery residences which are not certified or not owned and operated by a licensed substance abuse treatment provider.
This is an issue that can impact our local community. Learn where the government officials stand and voice your opinion this Wednesday.
I have always embraced those who would try to place themselves in a safe, sober environment, and wish more neighborhoods would stop discriminating, acting as if these homes were bringing drugs into the neighborhood. Any one of your neighbors could be struggling silently. People in a sober house have no problem asking for help, and they deserve some respect for that. Why not take the time to reach out, to offer a hand and some accountability to those who admit the struggle. From my experience as a mentor to recovery residences, I can tell you, their money is accounted for, their time and presence is accounted for, they attend mandatory meetings AT their residence, and are removed from the property for violating the sobriety of the residence. Not saying all sober homes are perfect, but not all family homes are without a drug and alcohol struggle. I chose to befriend, embrace, and offer help to anyone trying to overcome this demon. People in recovery are the first to admit their shortfalls