A mix of irate, frustrated and desperate Frankford residents gathered at a recent Town Hall Meeting to discuss with State Representative James Clay, Jr. the status of legislation for illegal recovery houses in the neighborhood.
After listening to Roland Lamb, director of Addiction Services for the city of Philadelphia, compare dealing with “17-year-old girls vomiting on his front lawn” as a result of living near St. Joe’s to dealing with the daily drug trafficking and gun violence on the streets of Frankford, the infuriated residents seemed convinced that no one really understood their concerns.
The biggest issue at hand is the lack of standards and oversight for the creation of new recovery homes in the area, said Chris Gulledge, who attended the meeting anxious to get answers. Because there is no legislation to monitor the development of recovery housing, it has become dangerously easy for anyone to start up an illegitimate home for addiction, which has resulted in an excessive amount of these illegal homes in Frankford.
According to many of the local residents, people who run the illegal homes have crafted a shady business where they collect checks from their tenants, only to kick them out of the homes during the day, leaving the recovering addicts out on the street. Many of the concerns that were expressed had to do with the increased amount of crime and illegal activity that now overwhelms the neighborhood as a result of these houses.
Although the people in attendance had mixed feelings regarding the benefits of recovery homes in general, the majority agreed that there are too many in Frankford and that something should have been done about it a long time ago.
When asked about what progress was being made in terms of passing legislation, Rep.Clay explained that he was still new to the conversation and was unsure of where previous discussions had left off.
“I expected to hear that there was some kind of legislation in place so that it would empower either the community or community organizations to do something about these places,” said Gulledge, who was less than satisfied with the situation’s progress.
During the meeting, community members were asked to write down the locations of any suspicious recovery houses they were aware of so that individual investigations could start being made.