Neighborhoods overtaken by sober homes
DELRAY BEACH (CBS12) —
Your home is likely the biggest investment you'll every make.
Anything that de-values it, becomes and instant issue.
For home owners in Delray Beach, that issue is sober homes.
Sober Homes are designed to help people recover from drug and alcohol addiction.
A CBS Investigates found, they are also largely unregulated, leaving home owners and home owner associations trying to stop their impact on property values pretty much powerless.
The Mayor of Delray Beach admits sober homes are the single biggest problem facing local government.
He says the recovery industry is unregulated and yet fully protected by federal laws, allowing some owners of these facilities able to exploit the laws without fear of recourse.
"This is a single family neighborhood,” said Geoffrey Gilbert. “This is not what we envisioned to raise our child and grow our family."
Geoffrey and Tristen Gilbert bought their home in Delray beach last February.
They soon learned of dozens of new neighbors.
"A facility had just purchased a home and was intending on opening an addiction facility,” said Tristen. “We thought about it. We really loved the house. We thought we would accept it. It is one."
Six months later, the same addiction facility purchased the home right next door.
"I literally cried for 5 days straight,” said Gilbert. “I will never know who is looking out the windows at me or my son."
According to the Florida Association of Recovery Residences, there are 233 certified sober homes in Florida.
40 are in Delray beach.
We took our findings to Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein who finds those numbers impossible to believe.
"I know for a fact many of the residences don't apply," said Mayor Glickstein.
He estimates more than 800 sober houses are operating within the city.
In part because the privacy laws within the Americans with Disabilities Act prevents cities from being told exactly how many sober homes there really are in any given area.