As part of my ongoing commitment to keep Palm Beach County safe Sen. Jeff Clemens and I are gaining even more support on our bill regarding sober homes. According to Delray Beach city rental housing inspector Marc Woods, only half of Delray Beach’s 550 sober homes have complied with a law the city has imposed to verify the number of tenants living in rental homes. Additionally, people coming to the city for recovery are estimated to have committed over half of the property crimes seen in Delray Beach in the past year. Delray Beach is not the only city with this concern; all of Palm Beach County could be at risk – unless we act now.²
These ³facts² remains anecdotal, speculative, and stereotypical at best, and discriminatory and unfairly stigmatizing at worst.
Let me be clear, I strongly support legitimate and targeted regulations to ensure that persons in recovery are protected from predatory landlords and unscrupulous treatment providers.
But throwing cavalier statements around about people in recovery causing 50% of the crime in Delray Beach is absolutely absurd, reckless, and quite frankly, continues to paint the City of Delray Beach (and now, this specific legislation) in the light of a government hell-bent on getting rid of ³those people² at all costs.
Marc Woods should be ashamed of himself.
See the press release below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FOR MORE INFORMATION:
January 8, 2014 Chauncey Graham (561) 540‐1140
PALM BEACH LEGISLATORS WANT OVERSIGHT ON SOBER HOMES
TALLAHASSEE, FL ‐‐‐ Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens (D‐Lake Worth) and Representative Bill Hager (R‐Delray Beach) hope to put the brakes on the unchecked proliferation of “sober homes” that are changing the character of neighborhoods around the state.
Many communities have been virtually overrun by the number of so‐called “sober homes” that have emerged in the middle of neighborhoods. These unregulated facilities can potentially house twenty to thirty individuals renting space from a landlord with an eye more to maximizing profits than providing actual treatment, and they can also attract criminal elements such as drug dealers hoping to sell to residents.
While some city officials claim that thousands of these homes have opened across the state, the data is unreliable because the state has no means of tracking sober homes. SB 582 and HB 479 will allow the state to track sober house transitional living homes by providing rules for the registration and operation of these type of substance abuse service facilities.
“While many businesses are restricted from operating within single‐family neighborhoods, sober homes can open virtually anywhere,” Clemens said. “Some of these so‐called homes are destroying neighborhoods and providing little benefit to residents or the community. We need to get a handle on the problem.”
“Dating back to my service on the Boca Raton City Council, I have been keenly aware of the neighborhood challenges relating to so‐called sober homes. It is time to take legislative action,” Hager said. “Our proposal regulates sober homes in terms of licensing, screening those who operate these homes and gives the Department of Children and Family Services the ability to inspect the homes on a regular basis. Way too many problems have been reported to local officials in connection with some of the sober homes to permit them to continue to operate without regulation.”
Currently, sober homes can be established anywhere by anyone and, while claiming to provide assistance for recovering addicts, oftentimes do not offer treatment programs or services. The proposed legislation will outline where and how sober homes can be operated and address public safety issues that result from poorly run facilities.