Updated federal joint statement on sober homes past deadline

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Staff report

Those waiting for some relief when it comes to the proliferation of sober homes will have to wait longer.

The revised joint statement issued by the Department of Justice and Housing and Urban Development did not come out by the promised August deadline.

A letter from Congresswoman Lois Frankel’s office said the joint statement is being worked on by both agencies. Congress has not been in session, but is resuming.

The joint statement is used when discussing that people in recovery are a protected class of people under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.

The federal laws prohibit cities from specifying where sober homes may be located or from denying a person a place to live. The laws also present police officers from tracking where sober homes are located, even if they respond to calls at their locations.

The updated statement is aimed at clarifying the laws currently in place to help local cities dealing with an influx of sober homes.

Officials said it is intended to clarify that cities and counties can regulate sober homes to protect the character of a neighborhood as long as the ruling isn’t discriminatory.

It is also supposed to help local governments craft ordinances that can be used if those rules are challenged in court.

The change may help cities limit the number of sober homes in neighborhoods.

It is unclear how many sober homes will result in a neighborhood’s character changing.

When the joint statement is released, we will keep you informed.