The principals behind the project at 19 East St. are stating that they are creating a sober house. But their activity is far from how a “sober house” operates.
A “sober house” is a facility that provides a secure, safe, competent structured program with a 24-hour manager and staffto implement this program. A “sober house” must have the necessary permit to ensure fire safety and building security, and operates in such a way as to prevent unwarranted intrusions from outsiders. Alcohol and drugs are strictly prohibited, with on-site enforcement of these prohibitions. Strict written rules and guidelines are another feature of a “sober house,” and theseserve to minimize the possibility of relapse. The residents are held accountable for their actions. Counseling and treatment are available, and provisions are made for the medical needs of the residents. For example, prior to entry, the health status of residents is determined, especially with regard to communicable diseases like hepatitis B and C. Medicines are kept in a secure area and dispensed by professionals when needed. Staff-to-resident ratio is kept low to ensure adequate resident services and treatment. Curfews are another feature of a “sober house.”
What do we see at 19 East St.? No on-site supervision. No enforcement of rules. No requirement to commit to a long-term stay. No oversight or accountability for residents’ actions. No counseling. No curfew. No case management.
What we do see is that residents are transients whose condition is being exploited by a for-profit operation.
Please attend the next discussion, to hear from the public, about this issue of the Development Review Board on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the village offices on the second floor over the fire station on Main Street in Waterbury. The entranceis in the back of the building.
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