Commission Corner

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By: Mayor Cary Glickstein Special to the Delray newspaper
We checked in with Delray Mayor Cary Glickstein to get his take on the recent closed-door meeting of officials at Old School Square regarding sober homes.
Here is what he had to say:
As to sober home issue, I greatly appreciate Congresswoman Frankel’s leadership on this issue that impacts all of Florida and many other states. I’m not sure many people realize how meaningful it was to get a congressional delegation together with a senior cabinet-level delegation to Delray Beach to tour our city and see first-hand the abuses going unchecked by current outdated laws and agency policy. As we toured many neighborhoods, they heard from our senior staff what is really going on. They were visibly shocked. At the end of the tour and subsequent multi-city/county meeting, both congresswoman Frankel and I felt encouraged we would see a new Joint Agency Statement, perhaps as soon as August, that may provide all cities with the legal cover to craft reasonable ordinances that preserve the character of existing neighborhoods and still afford persons in recovery reasonable opportunities to heal in residential settings but with real consumer protections against the many unscrupulous sober home owners and operators that currently ignore neighborhood impacts and exploit human suffering for profit.
The Dept. of Justice (charged with enforcement) together with the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (charged with interpretation) are responsible for promulgating a Joint Agency Statement providing meaningful interpretation and definitions of federal laws based on real world conditions. The Fair Housing Act was last amended in 1988; the current Joint Agency Statement was issued in 1999, an era that predates the current sober home business model and the proliferation. Changing federal laws is extremely difficult. JAS’s are persuasive in federal court as they speak to the intent of the legislation within current context. In this instance, we are hopeful a JAS would recognize the public safety need to regulate the complex web of substance abuse, addiction and recovery that reflects contemporaneous conditions of 2016. Let’s hope they go to work when the get back to DC so that we see something soon.