Sober Homes

This week, Wednesday July 18, 2012 will be a commission meeting for the Town of Lake Park. The meeting will start at the regular time of 7:00 pm and is opened to all to come and listen as well as you will have time to speak if you so wish. Just remember that you only get three minutes whether it is on the agenda or not.

The first item on the agenda is a report from the town’s lobbyist, Fausto Gomez from Gomez, Baker & Associates, Inc. Mr. Gomez is one of the key people the town had working on the issue of Sober Homes within the town for trying to pass some legislation to be able to control them within the town limits.

Sober homes are popping up all across the state of Florida just as the pip mils did a few years ago. Currently there is not much the town can do to control them. If you look into the background, these sober homes seem to be moneymaking item for the homeowner while they can cause the value of the surrounding homes to decrease.

My opinion is that I believe that most people are not against people trying to find help with their addition of drugs or alcohol; it is just the way that these homes are popping up all over towns. There is no control or monitoring of the home. Questions that have been asked are like, should these homes be under the hospital control and follow their requirements. Let’s face it, if it cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to convert a home so it could made into a sober home, you would not have the problems with them popping up all over the state.

No town is left out just because of the location or the cost of the single-family homes. Even locations like Delray and Boca Raton have these types of homes even with the cost being in the millions. If you look around your town or city, you will find them.

Down side is that all you have to do is list your home as a sober home with several agencies and you will get the people. Based on comments made at a hearing within the town, a typical home can make over $6000 per month with only 4 to 6 people. Deduct the average $1000 for rent and you have a nice income. Oh, do not forget that the income typically comes from the government so it becomes a guarantee income each month. Some have said that the income per home can climb into $10,000 to $20,000 per month per home.

If you ask the people who are pushing for allowing sober homes in all areas of towns and cities, you will not find one who actually lives next to one or within the same block. Ask those people if they would like living next to a home where there is drinking happening or even drugs. They will tell you no.

While I feel for the people who need to go thru the treatment, I have to also back the people who will be stuck living next door to the homes. As said early, if these homes fell under the health care industry, you would not see the problem as we do today. Require a full time nurse, doctor, etc. To be on at all times. Have somebody who is licensed by the state to live at the home that has to have training and management skills.

While there are many fine establishments that do have strict guidelines, there are many who only look for the bottom line on what can be made as a profit. This issue is just like the pill mills that have popped up in Florida. While you have pain management clinics that follow the rules, others just are looking to make money and end up giving the bad name to others.

Other items that are up for approval are things like past commission meeting minutes, job description classifications, purchase of trash dumpsters, site plan approvals and more.

One of the big items is the employee handbook. The town was so lucky to have several town residences that took time out of their busy schedule to review and make changes to this document. Keep in mind that this document has cost the town thousands of dollars to change in the past years. Now the town is correcting it in hope to make department heads and employees feel that they can speak up with their concerns as well as their ideas. Have to give a big thanks to those citizens for all they have done.

As said before, we all can make a difference with in our town and government. However, you have to be willing to get off the couch, come to the meetings occasionally, and speak up. If everyone gets involved, our great little town can become the Jewel of the Palm Beaches that it once was known for.

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