San Juan Capistrano Endorses Issa’s Sober Homes Bill


WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The City of San Juan Capistrano today became the third local government to express support for Congressman Darrell Issa’s bill, the Safe Recovery and Community Empowerment Act (H.R. 6070), that would allow cities and states to implement oversight of sober living facilities.

In a letter to Congressman Issa, the Mayor of San Juan Capistrano, Pam Patterson, writes, “Cities in California and across the country are dealing with a proliferation of residential recovery facilities in residential neighborhoods…The challenges derived from noncompliant residential recovery facilities are a strain on law enforcement resources, represent legitimate public safety threats to the community, and negatively affect the patients seeking treatment. The residential recovery facilities that are concerned with the quantity of patients, rather than the care of patients, have had a harmful effect on all of the compliant and well-operating facilities, leaving patients with incomplete treatment and local governments to deal with the fallout.”

“This bill would make a positive impact in mitigating these issues, by requiring residential recovery facilities to provide residents with a safe and sober living environment that is completely free from illegal drugs, alcohol, abuse, and harm; and requires homes, its owner, and its operator to obtain a license or permit to operate, meet a set of consumer protection standards, and register with the government.”
The full letter from the City of San Juan Capistrano is available here.
“Cities and local government have had their hands tied in dealing with sober living facilities so I’m glad to have worked together to introduce this necessary update to the law,” said Congressman Darrell Issa. “In many ways, the biggest issue I hear about day-to-day from constituents is the rapid growth of poorly-run sober living facilities that are helping neither those in recovery nor the communities they are supposed to serve. This simple update will help ensure local governments have the tools they need to solve these problems and sure these faculties are working for everyone. I’m proud to have the support of San Juan Capistrano and look forward advancing our solution when Congress reconvenes this fall.”

Congressman Issa recently held town hall meetings in Oceanside and San Clemente on Sober Living Homes where constituents came out in the hundreds, packing meeting rooms to the brim to share their concerns over the proliferation of these facilities.

The City of San Clemente endorsed the Congressman’s legislation in September and the Orange County Board of Supervisors quickly followed in October.

Issa’s bill would:

  • Correct the Fair Housing Act to specifically clarify that state or local governments may enact and enforce zoning ordinances or other regulations that would limit the number of sober homes within a particular neighborhood
  • Enable states and cities to require sober homes to be licensed and registered and to meet state-passed standards
  • Enable sober home zoning to be enforced only if necessary to preserve the residential character of communities and if it allows at least some sober homes to be located within a particular area
  • Require sober homes receiving payments or reimbursements for housing or drug testing services from Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, or via private insurance purchased on an exchange to meet a set of standards and to provide residents with a safe and sober living environment that is completely free from illegal drugs, alcohol, abuse, and harm.

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