HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Sober-living homes or “halfway houses” are a popular temptation-free housing option for recovering addicts, but many who live near the homes see them as a dangerous nuisance.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher wants the hundreds of sober living homes across Orange County to be moved out of neighborhoods and into commercial areas.

“They’re putting drug addicts and alcoholics right next to ordinary families, which hurts their home values,” Rohrabacher says.

Some homeowners at Monday night’s meeting are worried. They say recovering addicts at sober-living homes are contributing to traffic problems, crime, noise and secondhand smoke.

“It’s destroying the integrity of our neighborhood,” Huntington Beach homeowner Harry Bray said.

Patricia Bray says while she doesn’t mind having one sober-living home on her street, she thinks three is too many.

“I think people are starting to think about moving and selling just to get out,” Bray said. “And I think the operators will be able to get the houses at a good deal and put more people into the houses on our same street.”

Some say the problem is bad sober-living home operators who don’t follow the rules.

But Rohrabacher says the problem is that homeowners are powerless to complain because recovering addicts are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“Which declares drug addicts and alcoholics to be disabled, and if they’re disabled, they’ve got no choice and you’ve got to take care of them,” he says. “But these people do have a choice.”

“That’s absolutely wrong,” one opponent said in response to Rohrabacher’s statement that addicts have a choice. “Alcoholics and addicts, their brains are wired differently. Where else are we gonna put these people? You can’t turn Catalina into Molokai.”

Comments (2)
  1. Steve Knight says:

    Wow, typical media spin on the meeting that took place in Costa Mesa, not Huntington Beach! I know, as I was there. The meeting started with two attorneys giving there opinions on terms and improperly applied the definitions. By the way, a half way house is NOT a sober living! The definitions they used would make a person need a license to render assistance to any person with say a “hangover” from drinking to much. Giving them a cup of coffee, you would need a licenses from the Department of Health Care. Should we need a license to put a band aid on a person with a cut finger? That is how Ludacris the explanations were. FEAR, is what this reporter is spreading!!! The housing that is giving a negative name to the real sober livings is the housing accommodations given by out patient treatment centers to their clients. This is NOT sober living but housing for the human trade business that has taken place after passage of the ACA health insurance! Many of these treatment centers buy the clients insurance policies and then profit from them. After they use all the benefits provided by the insurance companies they (the treatment centers) discard these people to the streets where they relapse and start the cycle again. The meeting and NIMBY’s that were present sicken me. Why don’t they allow members of real sober livings to be on there panel so that real answers to the problem can be addressed?

  2. Dear Steve Knight
    It seems like you have something important to say, but your posting is not very readable, and I’m not sure what you are saying. You say that a half way house is not sober living. So are these houses that people complaining about half-way houses or sober living houses? What is the difference?

    What does putting a band-aid on a cut have to do with this issue?

    What are the concerns of the neighbors? Do you think these are valid concerns? why or why not? Are these houses the “treatment centers” you talk about?

    what, in your opinion, are athe real problems and real answers.

    I’ve attended a few meetings like this, and I agree with you that the peopl on hand are professional advocates for wasting tax money, and are more interested in keeping a program going than actually helping anyone, and always skirt around the real issues with jargon, half-truths, and outright lies, never telling the audience what’s really going on.

    But that’s kind of what you are doing, also, because you are nog providing details and back ground.

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