Sober Homes? Recent federal guidelines on sober living homes now allow local governments to create laws that protect those in recovery as well as nearby homeowners. The federal push aims to decrease concerns on both sides that have arisen from a lack of regulation.
Sober Living Homes
Number of Palm Beach sober homes is uncertain
Sober living homes, also known as halfway houses, are often the final stop for recovering addicts who have left rehab facilities but are not yet ready to fully rejoin society. According to the Florida Association of Recovery Residences, there are currently about 233 certified sober homes in Florida. However, this accounts only for sober homes that are registered through FARR, and not the total number.
Because many sober homes never apply for certification, officials estimate that the actual numbers are much higher. For example, while 40 sober homes are currently registered in Delray Beach, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein estimates there are actually more than 800 sober homes in the city.
In addition, because addiction is recognized by the government as a disability privacy laws within the Americans with Disabilities act prevents cities from being told exactly how many sober homes there truly are in any given area.
Lack of regulation causes friction
Unfortunately, sober homes are not licensed or overseen by city or state agencies, which leads to a host of issues for recovering addicts as well as nearby residents. Vulnerable recovering addicts can fall victim to illegal patient brokering schemes, or run the risk of ending up on the street with nowhere to turn if they lose their insurance.
Rrelapse or otherwise drop out of the program. Seemingly every day, news breaks of another sober home facilitator being arrested for unscrupulous activity.
The influx is also causing problems in the real estate market. Homeowners oftentimes are unaware they are moving into a neighborhood dominated by sober homes, and worse still, are powerless when new halfway houses pop up next door or down the street.
When drug dealers come around trying to prey on those in recovery, residents worry about their family’s safety and the depreciating value of their homes. Even sadder, there are complaints of constant firetruck sirens due to overdoses, as many sober homes lack an on-site medical staff for those in recovery. The problems caused by an overall lack of oversight have led to years of tension between residents and those in recovery.
A new joint statement
The Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now provided guidelines to local governments, like cities in Palm Beach, intended to help everyone involved.
According to a CBS12 article, the federal joint statement clarifies what governments can do, such as “enforcing licensing requirements, taking action in response to any sort of fraud or illegal activity and denying accommodation requests based on the number of residents or homes in a community.”
In the article, Delray Beach resident Kelly Barrette says, “The joint statement is incredibly encouraging. I think we will not only be able to protect the character of our neighborhood, but, also, there is a very vulnerable population going through recovery here and the things have been going on with abuse and insurance fraud.”
Get safe and effective help
At The Watershed, we are a licensed, credentialed, longstanding organization dedicated to addiction recovery. We offer our patients services that provide a solid foundation for recovery from the disease of drug and alcohol addiction, including counseling, education and medical services. These factors aren’t “perks” or “bonuses,” – they are critical components for proper care. If you or a loved one need help for a substance abuse problem, give us a call to learn why proper care is crucial and discover how our programs can help: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: halfway house, the watershed alumni, the watershed halfway house