LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Sober living homes are supposed to help people with drug and alcohol addiction, but some critics Wednesday said that they are driving residents out of their neighborhood.
Neighbors in the Melrose area discussed the issue in an emotional town hall meeting Wednesday night.
“You may not like it, but I’m appalled by this. These people have rights,” one man said during a heated moment at the meeting.
At issue was whether sober living homes should be allowed in residential neighborhoods.
“I have a baseball bat by each of my doors because I am fearful one of these people will relapse and come over the fence,” Melrose area resident David Reid said at the meeting.
Many residents argue sober living homes for recovering addicts, like the Stanley House, are a nuisance and drive down property values.
“The value of my house has decreased. A family with young family members will not want to buy a home next to a transient boarding facility, regardless of its well-intentioned nature,” said resident Catherine Finkenspaedt.
“Sober living is a support group; we support each other to stay clean,” said Meir Raddy, who runs Stanley House.
He said that people who live there are not criminals, adding that it is a disciplined, healing environment.
“Everyone gets up at 7 o’clock in the morning, go to a meeting, come back, study, find a job,” Raddy said.
Many residents said that they want sober living homes regulated to require permits just like a business. At the time of this writing they were largely unregulated in California.
“There’s not one person in this room, who could not open a sober living home,” said LAPD Capt. Eric Davis.
The meeting came after four major crimes happened over a four-day period.
The crimes started on May 14 and consisted of a murder, a rape and two armed robberies.
Police said that the crimes were not connected to sober living homes, but many residents said the homes still need to go.
“We will find a way to prevent this from happening in residential neighborhoods, particularly our residential neighborhoods,” Reid said at the meeting.
City leaders said that there would be many more hearings before any regulations would be put into place.