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Congressman Darrell Issa Introduces Sober Living Homes Reform Bill

Press Release
Sep 20, 2016


SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. -- Today Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced legislation that would allow state and local governments to implement reasonable oversight of residential recovery facilities, which include sober living homes.

The Safe Recovery and Community Empowerment Act (H.R. 6070) would fix the Fair Housing Act in order to end the prohibition on state and local governments’ ability to manage the exponential growth of sober living homes or their ability to ensure the facilities are providing the safe environment that is necessary for those in recovery to overcome addiction, as well as for those living in the surrounding communities.

Following its introduction today in the House of Representatives, Congressman Darrell Issa released the following statement:

“We’re facing a crisis of drug and alcohol addiction not just here in Orange and San Diego Counties, but all across the nation. Sober living homes are supposed to be the last step of recovery where people can build the support systems necessary to transition back into healthy lifestyles. But in too many cases, the legal framework for these facilities has become misused to allow bad actors to open poorly-run facilities that take advantage of good people in their most desperate time of need.”

“The bill we’ve introduced today will permit state and local governments to implement reasonable oversight of sober living facilities and ensure that those who need help are able to get it in a safe, secure environment.”

The bill would:

  • Correct the Fair Housing Act to specifically clarify that state or local governments may enact and enforce a 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.

The bill's introduction follows a forum Congressman Issa hosted in San Clemente that attracted more than 300 concerned citizens where he shared draft legislative language for community input and feedback. Read more about the previous meeting in the OC Register.

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