City Council to Consider Regulating Sober-Living Homes Wednesday [Video]

Councilman calls for voters to fill City Council chambers and testify in favor of the measure.

Councilman Mitch Englander has called for voters to fill the City Council chamber Wednesday to testify in favor of regulating group homes.

"We're gonna need it," Englander told the Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council on Monday. "They will fill Council chambers -- the opponents of this -- because it is a multi-billion dollar operation [nationwide]."

"These are warehouses of people in our communities. We've got houses with 30, 40, 50 people living next door to us... These are ticking timebombs."

Neighbors have long complained of drug use, violence, and threats when some of these unregulated homes have opened in single-family residential neighborhoods.

Englander has been leading the charge to remove so-called unlicensed sober-living homes, group homes and boarding houses from residential neighborhoods since he was chief of staff for former 12th District Councilman Greig Smith who first introduced the Community Care Facilities Ordinance (CCFO).

The City Council meeting begins at 10 a.m., Wednesday, at City Hall, and the CCFO is No. 13 on the agenda.

"A super-majority of the Neighborhood Councils throughout the city, I'm happy to report, say they want to see CCFO passed," Englander said. "It will give us another tool for LAPD and Building and Safety to crack down..."

The councilman provided an example: "I just toured a facility recently, and you wouldn't imagine putting and animal in these type of conditions.

"There were feces and rotting food all over the place. This was a home not far from here where four people were assassinated in front of the house in the wee hours of the morning.

"I was actually out at the crime scene right after it occurred, and I toured this house and you couldn't imagine living in those conditions."

Englander said the renter of the front bedroom "had to crawl through the window which was access to-and-from his bedroom." He said there was "so much furniture and debris...  that [the] door hadn't been opened in months."

"Two weeks before the shooting, there was a home just like this in Pasadena that burned down and killed two people," Englander said. "So, these are ticking timebombs in our communities."

Related Patch stories:

Councilman Issues 'Call to Action' on Group Homes

Englander's Group Home Ordinance Scrutinized by Columnist Lopez

Chatsworth Neighborhood Council Reaffirms Opposition to Group Homes


Learn more about group homes in this Patch series: 

When Group Homes Locate in Single-Family Neighborhoods
"It was like they had more rights than the people who lived here and paid property taxes," neighbor says.

Group Homes—Neighbors Just Want Them Gone
Sober-living homes exist in residential areas all over Los Angeles, causing friction between neighbors and the homes' operators and residents.

City Hall Battle Looms Over Group-Home Ordinance
A proposed law to regulate unlicensed homes in L.A. has both sides marshaling their forces.

Jeff C January 29, 2013 at 05:32 PM
This article reemphasizes the original intent of this ordinance. It is one more example that can be used to support the discrimination law suit that will be forthcoming. From Munger, Tolles, and Olson: "Here, the historical background and legislative history of the proposed Ordinance make it plain that a protected characteristic played a significant role in the Council’s deliberations.The very first step in the drafting process, the introduction by Councilmember Smith on October 24, 2007 of Motion CF 07-3427, was a request for recommendations from the Planning Department and Department of Building and Safety for an ordinance that would regulate sober living homes specifically. It was only because the resulting report correctly recognized that any specific targeting of sober living homes would be unlawful that the Council was forced to consider facially neutral alternatives. But enacting a formally neutral law with the objective of limiting sober living homes is still an act of discrimination. See Crawford v. Bd. of Educ., 458 U.S. 527, 544 (1982) (“[A] law neutral on its face still may be unconstitutional if motivated by a discriminatory purpose.”); Smith & Lee, 102 F.3d at 790 (“Otherwise lawful government actions become unlawful when done for the purpose of disadvantaging the handicapped.”). And the documented, original objectives of this Ordinance could taint the final product even if the majority of the Council ultimately acts without discriminatory intent.
Jo January 29, 2013 at 06:52 PM
The CSUN fraternity house in my neighborhood is a huge nuisance. There are so many young men living there, they take up all the parking on the street. It is almost impossible to put our trash cans out. We have to call the police all the time due to noise. The City does nothing about the trash that accumulates on the front yard and sidewalk. The next door neighbor sold at a huge loss two years ago just because their lives became a living hell on earth. In the past, we could rely on common decency and respect for others. Now, greedy homeowners don't give a rip if they wreck their neighbors' lives. These are cropping up because the Government's CRA encouraged banks to give loans to people that truly could not afford to buy. Hence, an artificial housing bubble was created. Now, these folks are in over their heads and so they get creative and wreck the quality of life by cramming as many into a house as possible, many of them calling them "sober living" or "drug rehab." One of these nuisance houses could open for business next door to you tomorrow in your nice quiet, low density, R-1 SINGLE family zoned neighborhood, and LA City does virtually nothing. Care houses need to be licensed and inspected; it is safer for the residents and the neighbors. Come to city hall tomorrow at 10 to let Council know you want CCFO which is based on the regulations that all other cities have.
Lynne Lyman January 29, 2013 at 08:16 PM
While I understand boarding houses can be problematic, the CCFO is even MORE PROBLEMATIC. My Top Five Reasons to Oppose the Community Care Facilities Ordinance (CCFO) 1. It's bad policy. The CCFO has turned a local nuisance abatement issue into a national civil rights issue. Our City Council should be challenged to stand up for civil rights by opposing this ordinance. 2. If passed, it will increase homelessness for veterans, low-income populations, people in recovery and the disabled. This will not only further disenfranchise some of our most vulnerable residents, it will INCREASE CRIME. 3. No evidence has been presented of a citywide problem. Anecdotal complaints are compelling but are not evidence. Evidence from a citywide study must cover all jurisdictions. No study exists. 4. The legality of the ordinance is questionable. Opposition of this ordinance locally includes the who have long fought for disabled rights in Los Angeles. Federal agencies HUD and DOJ are aware of this ordinance and similar ordinances are under review at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOJ has filed a support brief on behalf of the plaintiff against the City of Newport Beach. 5. HUD funding could be in jeopardy. Community block grants are contingent on City's furthering fair housing practices including the reduction of barriers to disabled housing. Don't fulfill the SFV stereotype, and stand up for those less fortunate than you.
Jo January 30, 2013 at 01:23 AM
This is a land use issue, plan and simple. SINGLE family R-1 zone means something and the City needs to make sure it means something. CCFO is based on the same regulations they have in other cities and those towns do not have problems with lawsuits. The County is dumping criminals onto the streets in huge numbers, do you want a house full of parolees living next door to you. Get down to City Hall tomorrow at 10 am or else you only have yourself to blame if that happens. In Reseda there are several of the drug rehab homes across the street from Bertrand Elementary School. Does that seem appropriate? We need this ordinance to bring sanity to our zoning laws. The residents of care houses need the owners to have a license so the care homes will be inspected to insure the owners and managers of these businesses are not cramming in more people than the house is designed for. This is huge business and so the people running these homes for transients in our neighborhoods are going to show up tomorrow and even if you have a job, please go to City Hall at 10 am tomorrow.
Mary A January 30, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Excellent 10 thumbs up


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