Recovery Homes Need More Oversight, Cherry Hill Couple Argues

Their son, Kenny, died of an overdose in 2016 when he was staying in a such a facility in Florida. Sheridan argued the state should adopt a model similar to Massachusetts or Indiana, which incentivizes house owners to become certified and has established a process for neighbors to voice complaints if a certified house is not run correctly. New Jersey legislators have taken recent steps to try to regulate sober homes, yet advocates believe the measures don’t go far enough. Today, she counts the women as her closest friends, including one with whom she is as “close as bark on a tree.” Now, with four and a half years of sobriety, she lives in her own apartment and is pursuing a master’s degree in social work. She recently graduated from Rutgers with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and works at an intensive outpatient clinic in her hometown. There, with help from other women in recovery, she learned how to live a sober life, one with honesty and integrity.

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McGinn already is a tenant of the Smiths’ new sober living house in Evesham — the Kenny Smith Freedom Foundation home — thanks to another foundation, the Adam O’Brien Foundation, which thought it could help him get back on track. After writing and calling state and federal lawmakers, the Satterthwaites know they are battling uphill amidst an opioid epidemic sweeping the country. They worry the lack of oversight will become an issue as more recovery houses open. There’s no data that proves a managed model is a better way to support people in recovery, Kent argued. Oxford residents reported they spent an average six months homeless, and there were more than four applicants for every vacancy in 2016.

Typical Day At A Sober Living Home

We believe that selecting multi-level, multi-methods approaches allowed us to better clarify complex phenomena that we were studying. Within this large study, we analyzed psychiatric severity data such that we compared residents with high versus low baseline psychiatric severity (Majer, Jason, North, Davis, Olson, Ferrari et al., 2008). No significant differences were found in relation to residents’ number of days in outpatient and residential psychiatric treatment, abstinence rates, and Oxford House residence status. These findings suggest that a high level of psychiatric severity is not an impediment to residing in self-run, self-help settings such as Oxford House among persons with psychiatric co-morbid substance use disorders.

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You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance. Jason LA, Ferrari JR, Smith B, Marsh P, Dvorchak PA, Groessi EJ, Pechota ME, Curtin M, Bishop PD, Kot E, Bowden BS. An exploratory study of male recovering substance abusers living in a self-help, self-governed setting. Jason LA, Olson BD, Ferrari JR, Lo Sasso AT. Communal housing settings enhance substance abuse recovery. There were only seventeen American Indian participants in our national NIDA study (Kidney, Alvarez, Jason, Ferrari, & Minich, 2009).


Cleburne, of course, was decided prior to the 1988 amendments at issue here, and was an equal protection case, not a case brought under the Fair Housing Amendments Act. Although the Eighth Circuit did not discuss this distinction in Familystyle, it would seem that the 1988 amendments now require a court to use a higher degree of scrutiny in Fair Housing Amendment Act cases than that used in Cleburne. Familystyle’s requirement Sober living houses that the ordinance be necessary to promote the government interest may well be a tacit reflection of this enhanced status and stricter scrutiny required by the 1988 amendments. Because the Court in Familystyle found that the state law at issue there did not have a disparate impact on the handicapped, but instead promoted the same goals as the FHAA, it did not actually need to go on to the second part of the analysis.

oxford house definition

For McGinn and many others in recovery, a safe, sober environment to live while getting back on their feet from a battle with addiction is essential. But they’re not always easy to find or properly regulated, putting people seeking help at risk when they’re most vulnerable and leading to relapse, or, in some cases, overdose and death. Rejuvenated, the addict may have the first experience of a psychological sense of community what is an oxford house as described by Graham et al. If we understand addiction as a disease of isolation, then one primary “defect of character” may be the absence of this psychological sense of community. The ability to study the development of PSOC as a function of joining a community such as the Oxford House opens the possibility of understanding the broader PSOC that becomes available in the larger community of 12-step fellowships.

Importance Of Sober Living

In short, the evidence clearly showed that defendant’s actions were motivated by consideration of plaintiffs’ handicapped status. The City’s reaction to the state’s introduction of the concept was that Oxford Houses would cause flight from the City. The City’s Zoning Administrator, who was its top zoning official, testified that he wouldn’t want recovering alcoholics or addicts living next door to him. The chief building inspector sought guidance from this same Zoning Administrator by asking him if pursuing a complaint of overcrowding would be “heading in a right direction …, if that’s what we could use” to stop the operation of the Oxford House. The first city inspection of OH-C occurred on the same day the neighborhood meeting regarding OH-C was held, in which unfounded and stereotypical fears about safety and property values were raised by the neighbors.

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“Actually, from what we’ve understand, they’ve been very good neighbors,” Cahn said. “They should be able to change the law,” Satterthwaite said.

Oxford House Vs Riverhouse Sober Living Comparison

But sober living homes can be beneficial for anyone in recovery who does not have a supportive, substance-free environment to go home to. The goal of sober living homes is to monitor and improve health, safety and wellness using peer support.

  • In fact, the evidence presented at trial showed that non-enforcement of the zoning code in these instances would have no adverse effect on the City’s zoning scheme or on the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Our research examined the nature and outcomes of the Oxford House model of substance abuse recovery.
  • The Treasurer is responsible for keeping a financial accounting for all matters involving the house.
  • The evidence at trial showed that while groups of unrelated non-disabled people may occasionally wish to live together in residential neighborhoods, recovering alcoholics and addicts in the early stages of sobriety need such housing as a result of their disability.
  • OH-C is not located in a “conservation district”, so no inspection for this purpose was required.

While groups related by blood or marriage who apply for a are automatically considered to meet the definition of family under the zoning ordinance, a group of unrelated individuals is initially presumed not to constitute a family. This “permanency instability” standard is not referred to or defined anywhere in the zoning ordinance, and the Township has no written criteria according to which the standard may be uniformly applied. [Id.]When addressing the preliminary injunction standard of “likelihood of success” regarding the Federal Fair Housing Act, Judge Gerry said that he was not required to “defer” to the Chancery judge’s decision in the case before us. While not explicitly disagreeing with the Chancery judge’s findings, Judge Gerry did state that he did not “feel compelled to treat as persuasive precedent the decision of a State court with respect to an issue of federal law.” Id. at 458 n.

Of course, no one particular type of treatment setting is appropriate for all individuals. Individuals early in their recovery or with particular interpersonal characteristics might need more of a structured and professionally-led milieu in order to maintain abstinence given the freedoms that are provided in Oxford Houses. In the past 90 days, the sample had an average of 1 day of residential treatment for psychiatric problems and an average of 3 sessions with a counselor for psychiatric problems. Certainly, it is clear that the sample of Oxford House residents do have significant mental health problems and that they do utilize mental health services outside of their Oxford Houses. Our research examined the nature and outcomes of the Oxford House model of substance abuse recovery.

Going Back To Your Own House Is Usually A Bad Idea The Majority Of People Who Go Back To Where They Were Running And Using

The recovery process doesn’t end after 90 days of treatment. The transition back to life outside of rehab is fraught with the potential for relapse. Aftercare resources such as 12-step groups, sober living homes and support for family and friends promote a life rich with rewarding relationships and meaning. The term Oxford House refers to any house operating under the “Oxford House Model”, a community-based approach to addiction recovery, which provides an independent, supportive, and sober living environment.

Oxford House asked Edmonds to make a “reasonable accommodation” by allowing it to remain in the single family dwelling it had leased. Group homes for recovering substance abusers, Oxford urged, need 8 to 12 residents to be financially and therapeutically viable. Edmonds declined to permit Oxford House to stay in a single family residential zone, but passed an ordinance listing group homes as permitted uses in multifamily and general commercial zones.

Given the expanding federal deficit and obligations to fund social security, it is even more important for psychologists to consider inexpensive ways to remediate inequities within our society. The Oxford House model suggests that there are alternative social approaches that can transcend the polarities that threaten our nation .

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There is no limit on the length of time a resident may remain in the house, so long as the members remain drug and alcohol free, pay their share of the expenses, and are not expelled for disruptive behavior. Sober living homes are an effective resource for individuals who have completed treatment and are ready to begin their lives in recovery.


For the reasons set forth above, defendant is not entitled to judgment on this counterclaim, and it will be dismissed on the merits. Presented by the experts showed that if a specific use is not listed as a conditional use in a given district, the variance process should not be used to allow such a use, as this would constitute “spot zoning,” which zoning codes are intended to prevent. The credible evidence showed that, under zoning theory, “use variances” should not be granted, because the legislative body, by not listing something as a conditional use, has already determined that such a use should not be allowed in that particular zoning district. Residential address means the physical location where the student’s parents, legal guardians, persons having legal, lawful control of the student under order of a court, or persons standing in loco parentis reside. Halfway house means a publicly or privately operated profit or nonprofit residential facil- ity that provides rehabilitative care and treatment for sex offenders. Studies indicate that living in sober homes after inpatient treatment increases recovery rates, financial strength and overall stability.

Plaintiff Oxford House, Inc., is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Silver Springs, Maryland. Oxford House, Inc. advocates for and assists in providing housing for recovering alcoholics and addicts, and is a membership organization whose members are the residents of individual Oxford Houses across the country, including OH-C and OH-W. Oxford House, Inc., has granted charters to plaintiffs OH-C and OH-W and has expended substantial effort seeking to protect their right to supportive housing in the community. Oxford House, Inc., also has a contract with the State of Missouri for the collection of loan repayments from and provision of other assistance to individual Oxford Houses in Missouri. Based upon the testimony, exhibits, stipulations presented at trial, and pre- and post-trial briefs, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Our group has recently received a federal grant to explore this new type of culturally modified recovery home. During our drinking and drug use years, and even before, many of us found it difficult to accept authority. Many individuals in society are able to abide by the strict letter of any rule, regulation , or law.

December 12, 2021

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