Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Too many Halfway Houses?

Someone sent a link to a Prescott Daily Courier series about how many halfway houses are in Prescott, Arizona. Seems the citizens are in an uproar because of all the recovering addicts in town.

They say property values are going down. Homelessness is on the rise. Crime is increasing. Their children are in danger. On and on. For me it was deja vu.

Because in the mid-nineties here in Mesa, where TLC started, we had the same situation. The good folks of Mesa raised so much hell that the the City Council passed three ordinances to put halfway houses out of business.

One required a public hearing to open a house. Another wanted a 1200 foot separation between facilities. And a third wouldn't allow houses in the downtown square mile.

However, when the city tried to enforce the ordinance TLC in 1998 filed a Federal Fair Housing lawsuit. We were in court for over five years. And we spent over $100,000 on legal fees.

In 2003, the City settled with us and paid a portion of our legal fees.

And the settlement came about because substance abusers are a handicapped group. As such, the Fair Housing Act and other laws protect them from discrimination.  We must be allowed the same housing opportunities as other citizens.

Prescott's government knows the law and is reacting with caution. Just because citizens are upset they're not going to enact ordinances that violate Federal law.

Follow the link in the first paragraph. You'll see the emotion generated by this controversy.