By Jane Smith
Another ray of hope for South County coastal cities overwhelmed with sober home complaints comes via U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel’s office.
She is holding a roundtable discussion May 2 on sober homes. Her office has invited mayors, city managers and city attorneys to the Delray Beach discussion, which will take place in private. An assistant secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department, Gustavo Velasquez, also will attend.
Frankel’s district spans the coastal areas of northern Broward County and southern Palm Beach County up to Riviera Beach. Her office could not say how many cities would be represented at the May 2 roundtable. Delray Beach and Boca Raton officials intend to be there.
The roundtable was originally set for March 11, but it was canceled when a HUD official became sick and was unable to make the trip.
Cities, including Boca Raton and Delray Beach, lost court cases when sober homes and their clients sued under federal disability and fair housing laws. Sometimes the judges awarded multimillion-dollar damages to the sober home operators and their clients. Addicts in recovery are seen as a family unit that is protected under federal laws.
Prior to the afternoon discussion, Delray Beach officials will take Frankel and Velasquez on a tour of sober homes in their city. Mayor Cary Glickstein estimates that the city has hundreds of single-family and multifamily sober homes, most of which are not certified.
Later in the day, they will hold a news conference on the sober home issue.
By Jane Smith