Jacksonville Property Management Blog
How a Sober Living House Can Add Value to a Neighborhood
There is an irrefutable stigma surrounding sober living homes. And we understand where the fear is coming from. Having a domestic violence shelter in our neighborhood holds an entirely different narrative; our hearts go out to those who suffered greatly at the hand of a barbarous loved one. No wonder Netflix's TV show "Maid" is one of the ten most-watched shows. The injustice enrages us; it makes us want to get up and do something for those who cannot stand up for themselves—all the women, children, and men. We feel compassion for the elderly, we watch Animal Planet with a box of Kleenex, but somehow, someway, when it comes to the ones most in need of our sympathy and support, we pull back, and we shut down. And we discriminate with disgust. Let's not look away this time. This is how a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood.
Your problem is not my problem
Addiction is a problem that affects every one of us on many substantial levels. Drug abuse and alcoholism have always been around as pain relievers, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective human psyche has gotten exceptionally frail. And it's getting worse. We witness 95,000 alcohol-related deaths and 100,000 drug-related deaths annually in the US alone. So, if you are a young family relocating to one of Jacksonville's top suburbs, but you happen to learn there's a sober living house in your neighborhood, will you politely turn down the offer and keep on looking?
"US" vs. "THEM"
Sober living houses are almost always located in quiet, low-crime, safe and stable neighborhoods. And for a reason. You could be living in one of the best neighborhoods in Jacksonville with recovering individuals two doors down. Why? Because your contribution as an accepting neighbor is just as meaningful and valuable as the facility itself. Just by not discriminating and showing angst, you show the sober residents they are indeed a part of this world, an equal member of the society. Just by not looking away, you indicate that it's possible to get back (or to move towards) to that healthy life they're missing and possibly once had.
- Oh, that's great, I have a recovery home next door, so I need to have 911 on my speed dial from now on. And maybe get a guard dog.
- Probably half of the residents are criminals and convicted felons.
- Drug dealers will be swarming around my home. I need to protect myself and my family.
- The residents will most likely cause disarray in what used to be a good, low-key neighborhood.
- The value of my property will decline if I choose to move house.
None of it is true. The more rehabilitated people leave that house, the safer your community becomes.
Things you need to know about SLH
If you can't get your mind around how a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood, we'll go as far as to say it's a legitimate concern. A healthy dose of skepticism is anticipated and welcome. But let's try to debunk common misconceptions and chase your doubts away. According to Bright Futures Treatment Center FL, any residential facility offering non-medical services for recovering individuals is required to own licensure (also claimed by ADP / Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs)
The rules are strict
- Random drug tests are mandatory. There is no tolerance related to alcohol and drug use. You're clean, or you're out.
- Sober living houses are not rent-free. Residents are expected to participate with rent, utility bills, and groceries. A sense of independence is built by enforcing responsibility, which is necessary for a successful social comeback.
- Rules and regulations. There are curfews, only drug-free visitors are allowed during specific visitation hours, and there is no excess socializing.
- To get admitted to a sober living house, completing a rehab program is required.
- Sober living homes are not homeless shelters. They are more of a bonus quarantine time for the rehabilitated residents to prepare for the "outside" world and get their life back on track.
How SLH adds value
Sober facilities are not shady crack houses. In truth, residential housing has progressed immensely in the past decades. There are some state-of-the-art facilities all across the US. A sober living house doesn't necessarily scream unsightliness. You'd be surprised how pleasant they can be on the eye. The appearance is not what matters, though; it's what they do and who they are: simply a community within a community doing fantastic work for someone in need. When did philanthropy and being humane stop trending?
How it gives back
Alcohol and drug addicts and recoverees are not ungodly creatures. They are simply suffering souls with their self-image bruised, their self-worth annihilated, and only guilt, shame, and remorse to keep them company. Residents of sober living housing haven't targeted your neighborhood to make your life a living hell; they are there to redeem themselves. Give them that chance. Be a good neighbor.
The pilgrimage to society
Do you know why Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US? Because recoverees contribute to maintaining that reputation. They successfully integrate back into communities through volunteer work. It's their opportunity to give back to those who accepted and supported them when they were at their lowest. Sober houses often organize community service as it proved beneficial for residents and their neighbors. They assist the elderly and people with special needs, collect trash and keep the neighborhood nice and clean. They trim rose bushes and plant seeds to give your street a vibrant green feel.
What it all comes down to
The problem lies within us if we're still wondering how a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood. Not "them." Spend a little time with one of the SHL residents. Hear their story. It will blow you away (and probably make you feel ashamed for having had a privileged childhood). You have the power to stop the stigma. The biggest value-added to your neighborhood will be the accepting and open You. Most of the SHL residents are benevolent, warm people. By giving them a sense of belonging, you give them what they need the most. Hope.
Meta description: How a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood: The stigma around sober houses seems insurmountable. Let's prove ourselves wrong.
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