Rehab Homes: Not in My Backyard

Residents in University City are looking for ways to make two rehab homes move out

Residents in University City are furious after two drug and alcohol rehab homes opened up within blocks of each other, and in the middle of a single family neighborhood.

The homes are located near Regents and Governor in University City, where many residents say they moved to because of the quiet family environment.

"There’s a Montessori school right up the street, local parks,” said resident Adrienne Bledsoe. “You know there are families here."

However she said everything changed in March, when a full service drug and alcohol rehab home that can treat up to six patients moved in. Another one is located just a few blocks away.

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“I fear that there are criminals next door,” Bledsoe said.

Another resident echoed the concern.

“We are dealing with people at a low point in their life and who knows what's going to happen," said Staci Torgeson.

The residents attended a meeting Wednesday night at the University City United Church trying to find a way to kick out the rehab homes and prevent more from coming in.

Yet zoning laws allow an unlimited number in any neighborhood.

“They can put one right next to another,” said resident Francisco Von Borstel. “They’ve done it in other communities like Malibu. They have seven in a row.”

The owner of Practical Recovery, which runs the two homes in University City, said he may expand his operation, but that residents shouldn’t be worried about the patients because they are screened for potentially dangerous behavior, and each home is staffed 24-hours a day.

“The reality is,” Dr. Tom Horvath of Practical Recovery, “they are probably more at risk from the individuals in their neighborhood with alcohol and drug problems who are not monitored, rather than our residents who are observed 24-7.”

Still, some residents don't believe a business like this shouldn't be in the middle of any neighborhood.

"Next time you see a for sale sign or for rent sign in your neighborhood,” Bledsoe said, “it could be a potential rehab facility."

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