Requirements For California Rehabilitation and Sober Living Houses

Requirements For California Rehabilitation and Sober Living Houses

Last weekend my husband and I watched the movie,” The Big Short”. When the movie’s main characters became aware of the flaws and dangers of the loosely regulated banking system nobody would listen to them. People laughed.

Sadly, there is another Government Agency that needs oversight, The Residential Group Housing. There is no doubt that recovering addicts and addicts that reside in these residential houses need help. Alcohol and Drug Addiction is a disease. 

My Serious Concern: Anybody can open a 6 bed or less residential home. Houses that have supervisors may have NO TRAINING or High School Diploma, It Is The West Wild in Residental Neighborhoods. 

Addicts may be at a home not to recover but to avoid Jail Time. 

Unlike the required status of  Non-Profit for Foster Homes; Most Sober and Rehab Houses are FOR PROFIT. Unfortunately, for the patients and the community, many houses have been into Money Mills with little supervision

All Types of Rehabilitation and Sober Living Housing should require a license and be Non-Profit. 

Alarmingly, people with little or no experience in Sober Living have subleased houses to start their Rehab Business.  I feel similar to a character in the Big Short, knowing the government is doing little to prevent a crisis. 

Requirements For California Rehabilitation and Sober Living Houses

First Chart shows Alcohol/Drug Treat Facility Regulations

Requirements For California Rehabilitation and Sober Living Houses

under Blog Post show additional Residental Occupancy Regulations

 

California Senate created a task force in 1997 to analyze and report on the issues relating to facility oversight and placement. And in 2000, California voters approved Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act.

The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act enables thousands of  nonviolent drug offenders from prison into community treatment programs, including residential treatment facilities.

State law requires that residential care facilities that serve six or fewer residents be considered a residential property and be treated the same as a single-family home. This means that local government can impose on these facilities only those local use restrictions or fees that apply to other single-family residences.

LOCAL REQUIREMENTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Cities and counties have authority to adopt local land use and related regulations, such as zoning and permit requirements. Unlike small facilities, large residential care facilities (those with seven or more residents) are subject to local land use regulations and other restrictions such as special permit requirements (for example, having to obtain a local health department permit for central food service). Local governments may impose notification and public hearing requirements. However, the requirements must not apply exclusively to residential care facilities, and local governments must follow state mandated procedural requirements such as holding hearings for zoning decisions.

Requirements For California Rehabilitation and Sober Living Houses Serving More Than Six Residents

Because California law only protects licensed facilities serving six or fewer residents, many cities and counties restrict the location of facilities housing seven or more clients. They may do this by requiring use permits, adopting special parking and other standards for these homes, or prohibiting these large facilities outright in certain zoning districts. While this practice may raise fair housing issues, no published California decision prohibits the practice.

Because California law only protects licensed facilities serving six or fewer residents, many cities and counties restrict the location of facilities housing seven or more clients.

They may do this by requiring use permits, adopting special parking and other standards for these homes, or prohibiting these large facilities outright in certain zoning districts. While this practice may raise fair housing issues, no published California decision prohibits the practice.

Can a Licensed Residental Home provide services for  6 alcoholics and 6 drug addicted patients at the same time? 

Surprising, Yes. Because there are no separation requirements for drug and alcohol treatment facilities, ADP has in practice been willing to issue separate licenses for ‘small’ drug and alcohol treatment facilities whenever a dwelling unit or structure has a separate address. For instance, ADP has issued a separate license for each apartment in one multifamily building, for each single-family home in a six-home compound, and for each cottage in a hotel, in each case creating facilities that in fact serve many more than six residents. No local effort to regulate these facilities as ‘large’ residential care facilities has been successful in a published case. (Law Cited: City of Los Angeles v. Department of Health, 63 Cal. App. 3d 473, 479 (1976).

Requirements For California Rehabilitation and Sober Living Houses That Do Not Need a License (The Laws Need To Change To Protect Us All)

“Supportive housing” and independent living facilities with “community living support services,” both of which provide some services to disabled people, generally do not need to be licensed. Recovery homes that offer no care or supervision for people who have graduated from drug and alcohol programs do not need a license. (Law Cited:Cal. Health & Safety Code 1505(i)

Licensed group homes serving six or fewer residents must be treated like single-family homes or single dwelling units for zoning purposes.

In other words, a licensed group home serving six or fewer residents must be a permitted use in all residential zones in which a single-family home is permitted, with the same parking requirements, setbacks, design standards, and the like.

No conditional use permit, variance, or special permit can be required for these small group homes unless the same permit is required for single-family homes, nor can parking standards be higher, nor can special design standards be imposed.

The statutes specifically state that these facilities cannot be considered to be boarding houses or rest homes or regulated as such. Staff members and operators of the facility may reside in the home in addition to those served.

(Law Cited- This rule appears to apply to virtually all licensed group homes. Included are facilities for persons with disabilities and other facilities (Welfare & Inst. Code 5116), residential health care facilities (Health & Safety Code 1267.8, 1267.9, & 1267.16), residential care facilities for the elderly (Health & Safety Code 1568.083 – 1568.0831, 1569.82 – 1569.87), community care facilities (Health & Safety Code 1518, 1520.5, 1566 – 1566.8, 1567.1, pediatric day health facilities (Health & Safety Code 1267.9; 1760 – 1761.8), and facilities for alcohol and drug treatment (Health & Safety Code 11834.23)

You can find a list of Group Home Legislation, HERE

Below you can find the charts about Residental Occupancy Regulations, published by https://www.cacities.org/Resources-Documents/Policy-Advocacy-Section/Hot-Issues/Group-Homes/Residential-Occupancy-Regulations

 

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The Laws That Regulate Sober Living and Rehab Houses Need To Immediately Change!

There are no guidelines or certification needed to open a rehab sober living home! Sadly, it appears many sober living houses cause havoc on family neighborhood, increase crime rate and the patients have little to no supervisor. 

Resources:

https://www.cacities.org/Resources-Documents/Policy-Advocacy-Section/Hot-Issues/Group-Homes/California-Land-Use-Laws-Related-to-Recovery-Facil

 https://www.library.ca.gov/crb/02/18/02-018.pdf

 

 

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