Hope’s Landing for Men, a sober living home in Dickinson, has been informed By the City of Dickinson’s Planning and Zoning Department a ‘Special Use Permit’ is needed if the home is to continue to operate. In response, Hope’s Landing made a request to Walter Hadley that he communicate to the Shinagle Drive community that according to the Federal Fair Housing Act, sober living homes have a right to be in this neighborhood, as those in recovery are classified as disabled. Our City Manager, Joe Gaa stated on television (September 10th) that only a treatment facility needed a Special Use Permit. WE ARE NOT A TREATMENT FACILITY; WE ARE A SOBER LIVING HOME. Hope’s Landing has no paid employees, no addiction counselors, provides no professional services and has no authority to dispense or prescribe medication. We are simply a safe and sober home to practice clean living. We do this by providing a 100% sober (zero tolerance), structure and safe environment, so that residents can focus on recovery. We do not accept sex offenders or individuals with violent criminal records, and only people who have committed to living a life free of alcohol and drugs are accepted. There is a strict curfew of 10pm and residents are randomly tested for drugs and alcohol each and every week.
Hope’s Landing is not required to obtain a “Special Use Permit” and according to Federal Law the city is required to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ in accord with the Federal Fair Housing Act. As such we are requesting that the council make the reasonable accommodation to the zoning requirement of allowing only 4 unrelated people in this home. We are requesting that we receive the reasonable accommodation to house eight individuals. We have requested this in the past however, we have received no response to our requests. Instead, Hope’s Landing was sent a letter demanding we apply for a Special Use Permit (which Mr. Gaa said, on air, that homes like ours do not need), in addition to threats of criminal charges. We are baffled by the lack of the city’s compliance with federal law.
The question was asked: ”Would you want a Sober Living Home next to you?” A better question would be: “Do you know how many dealers and addicted individuals live in your neighborhood?” Every sector of Dickinson is dealing with this ‘under the radar’ crisis. One 54-year-old addict informed me that there are more drugs of every kind in the streets of Dickinson than he has seen in all his years. As I gave directions to a very nice home in a very nice neighborhood to one of our ladies, she said, “Oh I know where that is, I used to buy drugs right up the street from there.” Hope’s Landing is 100% drug free and is highly monitored.
Good people have been overwhelmed with unfounded fears expressed at City Council meetings, untruths which have only added to the stigma of addiction in our community.