Councilors Jackson, Baker call for better oversight of 'sober homes'
- Category: News Articles
- Created on Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:52
- Written by Patrick D. Rosso, Boston.com
City Councilors Frank Baker (Dorchester) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) are calling on the council to investigate the regulation of "sober homes" and their effect on neighborhoods.
The two councilors, in a news release, urged colleagues to to consider that “addictions and their effects on the health of families, neighborhoods, and business to be a public health crisis needs to be addressed by Boston’s leaders.”
"Sober homes" can provide recovering drug addicts with an affordable place and stable place to live while kicking the habit. But a recent Globe story showed that some have allegedly exploited their patients.
In Docherster residents have also mobilized around the issue. The Port Norfolk Civic Association in September, according to the Dorchester Reporter, took a vote to oppose a "sober home" on Lorenzo Street. and in October the operator, Carl Smith, was arrested for allegedly taking part in a kickback scheme.
The councilors said they believe that sober homes don’t consistently offer the necessarily support services to their tenants and that they can have a long-term negative effects on the neighbored.
Through the proposed investigation, the councilors hope that the city council will be able to gather enough information to create regulations that will improve the quality of life for Boston residents and businesses.
“Sober homes can be supportive communities for their residents, as well as good neighbors. We know that addiction is a real and difficult problem. When someone makes the hard choice to go through rehabilitation, they ought to be connected with real resources”, said Jackson in a statement.
Baker also said that the homes, while an important aspect of rehabilitation, must be better regulated to not disrupt the life of residents already living in Boston’s neighborhoods.
“Certain residential housing in Boston neighborhoods advertise as sober living environments,” Baker said in a statement. “However, the construction and operation of so-called ’sober homes’ is largely unregulated, and carelessly run, unregulated ’sober homes’ not only impede the recovery of the residents they serve, they can also disrupt the neighborhoods in which they reside.”
The hearing order titled “Order for a Hearing Regarding the Regulation of Sober Homes and the Services Provided to Residents Thereof” was referred to the Committee on Labor, Youth Affairs, and Health and was numbered 0559.