Sunday, April 12, 2015

Oxford House: Helping those in need or helping its own pocketbook?

To say Oxford House has generated a huge ruckus in Jackson with its plans to open numerous unsupervised "sober living" homes is a small understatement.  New Jersey was the birthplace of the Oxford House experiment and has had its own share of problems with these unlicensed and unregulated homes for recovering addicts. published a rather thorough and eye-opening article about the world of Oxford House "homes":

When Christopher Pesce died from a heroin overdose last October in a group home for recovering addicts, his grieving family wanted to know how the house had been regulated and who was responsible for the safety of its tenants.

What they learned stunned them: The house — a branch of an internationally recognized non-profit organization — was not licensed or regulated by the state; it didn’t have to be.

“It seemed so common sense that there would be regulations in a sober-living home,” said Pesce’s father, Larry. “Here we are, talking about the care of a human being, and there’s limited, if any, rules to follow.”

New Jersey is home to hundreds of recovery houses and sober-living facilities, including many in Bergen and Passaic counties. With heroin addiction on the rise, the housing of recovering addicts is a rapidly growing, but largely unregulated, industry.

In concept, sober housing is considered a helpful component of recovery: supportive, safe, long-term rental communities that ease an addict’s transition from inpatient treatment back into society. Sober homes can yield remarkable success stories, often at little cost — most have no clinical staff and few, if any, amenities. And that’s the point, the homes depend on recovering addicts to keep one another in line.

But as the Pesces and many other families across the country have learned, not all sober houses are safe or sober. The very independence that makes recovery housing empowering and cost-effective can give way to disorder, abuse and tragedy.

No New Jersey agency has responsibility for sober homes, though some receive state and federal funds. While most of the houses are legally required, at a minimum, to register with the state as a boardinghouse, it seems the great majority do not.

“There’s a huge need to have supportive housing for people in treatment or recovery, but it needs to be regulated,” said Frank Greenagel Jr., a counselor and addiction expert who until recently was in charge of a housing program at Rutgers University for students struggling with addiction.

In the absence of rules, Greenagel said, people will seize the chance to make a profit.

“They get a flophouse in Atlantic City or Camden, they pay $1,200 a month and charge $500 to residents, with no training, no staff, no protocol,” Greenagel said. “It’s the Wild, Wild West out there.”

There is no list of sober houses in New Jersey, and no data on incidents and deaths in these homes. But court records, interviews with treatment providers, officials and family members, as well as news reports from across the country suggest that sober homes not only house recovering addicts, but also may be havens for drug use, profitable for landlords and dangerous for residents.

To be sure, in a house of a dozen recovering addicts, there are likely to be slip-ups.

Oxford House Inc., which charters more than 100 homes in New Jersey — including the house in Rumson where Pesce died at the age of 25 — estimated in 2010 that 19 percent of its population of 24,000 residents nationwide relapsed and were expelled.

“We do everything we can” to minimize the use of drugs in Oxford Houses, said George Kent, the company’s regional coordinator, adding that deaths “very seldomly” occur in Oxford Houses.

“It’s something that absolutely rocks a house,” Kent said. “I don’t think we are the issue. The heroin epidemic is the issue.” (KF note: Sounds like guns, not people, kill people.)

New Jersey’s crisis of heroin and opioid addiction has magnified the problem. In 2012, more than 800 New Jersey residents died of heroin and painkiller overdoses and over the past decade the state has seen a 700 percent increase in admissions to state-licensed substance abuse programs for opioids which include prescription pain killers as well as heroin.....

Other troubles are tied to the business model itself. Sober houses can be highly profitable. With no obligation to hire staff and by packing more than a dozen people — each paying rent of $600 to $1,000 per month — into single family homes, landlords can reap handsome profits.

“The recovery house business is also a real estate business,” said Allen Sassman, a developer who has opened several sober homes. “It’s a way to hold real estate and keep it profitable. If you are not running it the way you are supposed to, you are just earning dollars.”

No clinical treatment

Drug treatment clinics are overseen by state health or human services departments. But most sober-living homes do not employ counselors or offer clinical services. In essence, they serve as de facto boardinghouses for recovering addicts.

“Sober-living facilities are not licensed treatment centers,” Department of Human Services spokeswoman Ellen Lovejoy said. “DHS does not license them. If they are not considered boardinghouses and licensed by [the Department of Community Affairs], then they are private residences not subject to licensure.”

The Department of Community Affairs, which registers and inspects group homes, like those for residents suffering from memory loss, and boardinghouses, considers only sober-living homes with designated owners or operators to fall under its purview. The Oxford Houses, which are legally considered single-family homes, have been granted exemption from DCA boardinghouse regulations, allowing them to rent space without putting residents on a lease. But the arrangement cuts both ways. Residents who run afoul of house rules can be kicked out without legal recourse......

Neither the DCA nor any other state agency regulates the state’s largest operator of sober houses, Oxford House Inc.

Oxford Houses are typically set up by a group of recovering addicts who are looking for housing. The group finds a house to rent (it must have at least four bedrooms and two bathrooms) and applies to Oxford House Inc. for a charter. If accepted, that allows the group to rent the house not as individuals, but as an Oxford House entity. For example, Oxford House Sears is the leaseholder of the Oxford home on Sears Place in Wayne.

The houses are “self-governing” — they have no in-house management — and are democratically run by the residents themselves, who elect house leaders to serve a term of six months. Oxford House Inc. likens the structure to that of a “fraternity, sorority, or a small New England town.”

The landlord of the house is paid directly by the residents and typically deals with the elected officers of the house, according to Oxford House Inc. If a resident is kicked out because of drug use — an Oxford House rule — the lease is not affected because it is in the name of the group, not an individual.

Those recovering addicts who are looking to join an existing home apply through Oxford House Inc. and are then interviewed by residents of that home.

Oxford House Inc. has a contract with the DHS Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services to operate in the state, and a $273,235 loan to pay for outreach workers and establish new homes, but Trenton neither licenses nor inspects them.

And while some who manage recovery housing say more state regulation could increase costs, lawmakers are moving forward with bills to ensure that sober homes are meeting their goal of helping addicts transition to productive life.

“This is one aspect of treatment not being regulated at all,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, who is co-sponsoring a bill that would place sober-living homes under the Department of Human Services and require the houses to notify an emergency contact if a resident is dismissed.

“They are a growing entity,” Huttle said. “We need to regulate them.”

Nearly 40 years old

The first Oxford House opened in Maryland in 1975, and the model soon caught on in other states. In 1988, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which required states to set up “revolving loans” for group sober houses based on the Oxford House model; the act was later amended to make the loans optional.

Twenty states had contracts with Oxford House Inc. in 2013, many including loans to start new houses and pay for outreach workers, who help start new houses and “assist with quality control,” according to Oxford House. New houses receive loans of up to $4,000, which are repaid to Oxford through rent.

No rent goes to Oxford House itself, the company says.

In fiscal 2013, Oxford House reported $4.1 million in income, more than half of which came from federal block grants, and 32 percent from state and local awards, including managed-care providers and Drug Court programs, according to the company’s annual report. Voluntary contributions from individual houses account for 10 percent of the company’s income.

Ninety percent of Oxford House’s $4.2 million in expenses in 2013 went to travel, outreach and personnel, aimed particularly at program expansion.

New Jersey was among the first to set up Oxford Houses and today has more houses than almost any other state. As of November 2013, there were 106 Oxford Houses in New Jersey — 79 for men, 27 for women — with a total of 837 beds.....

According to a 2009 Oxford House evaluation of its New Jersey program, more than three-quarters of the 1,292 residents of New Jersey Oxford Houses in 2008 enjoyed “continuous sobriety.” Nearly three-quarters of the residents, in May 2009, had served time in jail; 56 percent had been homeless.

In October 2013, Oxford House Inc. renewed its contract with the state Department of Human Services, getting a state loan of $273,235. The loan does not come with state oversight.

“Although administrative review was included in establishing the loan fund, the facilities are self-run and do not provide treatment, therefore DHS has no operational oversight,” DHS spokeswoman Lovejoy said. “The functioning of the home is the responsibility of the residents who join with the understanding that they must comply with the Oxford House manual and charter.”

The contract included $76,515 in new funding for a “full time outreach worker exclusive for the Drug Court population,” with the goal to open four or five new houses, according to the state’s award letter. Outreach workers identify properties appropriate for Oxford Houses, said Kent, the Oxford House regional coordinator.

“We are multiplying in New Jersey faster than I can keep up with,” Kent said, adding that the houses were the “No.Ÿ1 referral source for all treatment centers.”......

Unknown to neighbors

Pesce’s death alarmed Rumson residents, most of whom had no idea that 61 South Ward was a sober-living facility; town officials said they had not been informed, either. One neighbor said she thought the house was a fraternity because she often saw groups of young men and women drinking from red plastic cups and smoking on the porch.

Amid calls from residents to shut the house down, Rumson officials reached out to Oxford House leaders.

“The Oxford House in Rumson is relatively new and the death of a resident because of a heroin overdose is tragic and has brought community focus on the presence of the house,” Oxford House CEO and co-founder J. Paul Molloy wrote in a November 2013 letter to Martin Barger, Rumson’s borough attorney.

“Unfortunately, we believe many of the reports of dysfunction of the house are wrong,” Molloy said, adding that Oxford House had assigned an outreach worker to put the house on track.

“We haven’t been good neighbors, and I take full responsibility for that,” Kent told residents at a November community meeting, according to an account on, a local news website.

He acknowledged that the house “did not get off to a good start,” and said the first group occupying the house “was not the best mix of gentlemen.” The news report quoted him as saying that the current residents were “on their best behavior.”

On Dec. 15, 2013, ambulances returned to South Ward Avenue: a second man had overdosed in the house. He survived, but the next day Rumson sued Oxford House in Superior Court, seeking to close the house.

The house “has been a failure since Day 1,” the complaint said. There “has been no supervision, drugs are obviously being used at the facility … and there is a serious danger to the area and the residents.”

“Defendants have refused to allow drug testing, have refused to identify the individuals living at the facility and have refused to do or permit background checks. It has become a haven for drug addicts and possibly for criminals,” the complaint said.

In January, Oxford House Inc. sued Rumson in federal court, citing violations of the Fair Housing Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act and New Jersey legal protections for the disabled.

Oxford House frequently sues municipalities and insurance companies that seek to shut down houses, deny coverage or enforce local ordinances that would require variances, permits or background checks.

Many municipalities across the nation have zoning laws that prevent more than five unrelated people living in a single-family home. Oxford House sees such local ordinances as infringements on the rights of the disabled, a view upheld by state and federal courts.

In 2013, Oxford House was “actively engaged” in 12 cases across the U.S., according to the company’s annual report. New Jersey has seen several federal and state cases involving Oxford House over the past two decades.

Likelihood of relapses

In the long process of addiction recovery, relapse is considered nearly inevitability, and the odds in favor of an overdose in a house of recovering addicts are not insignificant. For example, last month two women died of heroin overdoses in the bathroom of an Oxford House in Fort Worth, Texas.....  Rest of article


Anonymous said...

This article illustrates why Oxford House is just a scam. It's not a "ministry". It's a money-making scheme benefitting the pockets of the home owners, and Oxford House, which gets its CEO salaries paid by state and federal money.
Oxford House doesn't care anything about the neighborhoods it locates in. Doesn't care about the crime it brings, or the lowered property values. And arguably since it isn't doing anything to actually help the residents, arguments could be made that Oxford House doesn't even care about the people it is supposed to be helping.
Thank you to everyone who has come together to fight this.

Anonymous said...

George Bell murdered his girlfriend at Robbie Bell's house on Trawick after his stint in rehab. Case in point not to have Oxford homes in NEJ.

Unknown said...

We're trying to shine some sunlight on what seems to be blatant profiteering by Oxford House, Inc. Here are two posters addressing their unethical practices:

Anonymous said...

Another poverty pimping scheme. Exactly what Jackson needs.

Anonymous said...

I guess we'll see by this summer whether JA renews its arrangements with our Missus Anna and our Master Neal. I'm thinking not.

Anonymous said...

Another poverty pimping scheme. Exactly what Jackson needs.

Exactly what Jackson has become. Neal and Anna are pulling this crap in Jackson because Jackson's total dysfunction will never stop them. Let us know when they open one up in one of the other well managed cities in the metro.

Anonymous said...

Since you are promoting it David, exactly who is behind the Facebook page? Is it you? I can't find your name on the Hinds County Land Roll. Do you own a house in the neighborhood under another name?

Anonymous sock puppetry is not what our neighborhood needs to address this issue.

Anonymous said...

Huge thank you to reporting this. This is what everyone expects to happen, despite the top dollar Oxford House lawyers and their local "landlords" denial that this is all about money. It is WRONG. It's bad for the neighborhood, but it's equally bad for these people who have had minimal treatment to stuff them in houses and expect them to "self govern". Heck, I can't self govern myself, and if I were sharing a 3 bedroom with 6-7 strangers, I'd be stressed to the max. Thank you, thank you. You shed a light on what is going on. Many of us LOVE our city, but bringing this kind of money-making scheme at the expense of people who are trying to improve their lives (the residents and the nearby homeowners) is wrong.

Anonymous said...

David Malloy at 4:35 - outstanding facts. Everyone being affected by this scam needs to read these links. Lays out the scam very nicely.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi has a lot of first hand experience with criminals governing themselves without any outside oversight - it was called the Trusty System. Mississippi was the first state to impose this 'fox guarding the henhouse' approach to prison operations. Started in 1902 when Parchman Farm opened. Go read the history of how well criminals or addicts policing themselves works out. A federal judge finally put a stop to it in 1972. Abuse, murders, torture, we're all part and parcel to letting criminals run their own show.

We have no idea how many real crimes go on in Oxford Houses because they are not required to report sh$&!!!!

Until someone dies, a house is robbed, or drugs are found no one will be told anything. The Oxford House bunch have every reason to lie and cover up- their money making scam is tied to no one finding out a thing that goes on in the "sober house".

Anonymous said...

"Be careful the bridges you are willing to burn when trying to get ahead. You might need a friend again."
Anna and Neal have burned lots of bridges for such a young couple. So sad. Such greed comes with a price.

Anonymous said...

To Anna and Neal:
"Be careful which bridges you burn when trying to get ahead. You might need a friend again."
So sad. Such greed will not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

The theme here of misplaced trust among this "self governing" population who pay their SSI checks as rent to Anna and Neal reminds me of the time Ross Barnett was dismayed that a Governor's Mansion Trusty had stolen a Mansion car and taken off for parts unknown. Ross famously asked: "Well, if you can't trust a trusty, who can you trust?!!"

Unknown said...

@7:20PM, with great reluctance I have volunteered my name to be a spokesperson for Sunshine for Oxford House. My reluctance comes from knowing that for many this fight will get too personal. Which is why SunforOH wants to keep the focus where it should be, on the fact that our tax dollars are going to an opaque organization that provides no benefits and no accountability. Your investigation skills seem sharp! Checking the Land Roll is an out-of-the-box idea. I hope you'll apply that talent to bringing transparency to Oxford House.

Anonymous said...

Wait until the first drive-by at an Oxford House in Jackson. It's not a matter of if, only when.

Anonymous said...

When an addicts leaves, they are cautioned not to reconnect with the "friends" with whom they abused.

The key is not the acquaintance they have but that those former " friends" also have an abuse problem and the temptation to fall into old patterns should be avoided.

A halfway house with supervision is quite different. Then there is supervision on site to make sure no drugs are on the premises and that the residents are supporting recovery. There is structure provided.

In AA or Al-Anon, those who have successfully stayed clean and sober help others do the same and there is a strategy to do so in place. Again, there is structure.

The notion that those just released from rehab can police themselves with no structure in place and no supervision is so ludicrous that I can't believe it ever got traction.

If there is no one to supervise or follow up , then I can't imagine how Oxford House can claim only a 19% failure rate. What, pray tell, are there measurements?

And, the dollar figures are equally ludicrous. Payment for rent in New Jersey's capitol shouldn't be reimbursed at the same rate as in Mississippi's as the cost of living varies. Surely, it is not the case that every Oxford House demands the same rent and gets the same reimbursement!

This is right up there with allowing " businesses" to loan our soldiers money at a 300% interest rate!

Our lawmakers continue to make it legal to steal and feign ignorance later when it's their job is not to be ignorant!

Anonymous said...

I do not know who started the Sun Shine for OH-Mississippi Facebook page, but I thank them. Everyone should see the article from AR there and go toward the very end where OH was cut off as the sole source provider by the State of AR and room made for alternative providers to come in with the accountability and zoning compliance OH so arrogantly and loudly eschews.

Anonymous said...

Liberal government program that will always come back to bite you on the butt. Yep much money to be made along the way.Also this program will not creep in to the burbs; no mass transit.

Anonymous said...

The Federal and State politicians (across the country) created this nightmare for us, and they better fix it. If not they can read about it the day after they are voted out. Many states are dealing with this nonsense and I am sure they will welcome others to the fight. Interestingly this does not seem to be a Republican vs Democrat issue. From my reading of articles, EVERYONE is equally mad and disgusted. When a New Jersey Democrat politician agrees with a majority of Republican voters in Mississippi, then you have an issue that will gain traction. Pure politics of greed at work here. Calling a drug addict or alcoholic "disabled" is total bulls&i$#. And complete disrespect to the those that are TRULY disabled. If that bunch is disabled then how about every prisoner serving time? Shouldn't they be released and put in an Oxford House for "bad decision" making which clearly was not their fault according to the logic being used to justify disabled status for addicts.

We have all gone along in blissful ignorance for years because the OH bunch did not affect our lives. New game.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't want to be living in an OH the day when anarchy breaks out.

Anonymous said...

Arkansas Times: No open doors for Oxford House

Anonymous said...

"Also this program will not creep in to the burbs; no mass transit."
Actually the OH does not follow its own rules for mass transit. The NSide house is almost 2 miles from the JTRAN stop, well beyond their stated limit. So just wait. Your proposition will be tested by R-1 busting landlords eager to cash into this sure bet enterprise based on collecting SSI checks and OH marketing for tenants. Like Anna and Neal, they will not act on whether the house actually follows their own rules and just refer everyone to OH for complaints which is not accountable to anyone and does not give a damn what anyone else thinks; the OH landlords, enabled by the State, will go for the money no matter what until the State stops them. You are not as safe from this insanity as you so smugly think.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to keep these houses out of the suburbs. As pointed out above, proximity to mass transportation is only an OH requirement, and clearly not a strict one as the East Northside house does not meet that requirement. Additionally, the men living in the houses that I've seen so far (Forest Park and E Northside) do not use the bus, as they have their own vehicles. If you're dumb, you will keep brushing this off as a Jackson-only problem. If you're smart, you will realize that this could happen in the suburbs, too. All it takes is someone wanting to make $ (a lot of it) who is willing to rent to OH. And OH targets good neighborhoods...not that many of those left in Jackson...where do you suppose they'll look next?

Anonymous said...

Being near mass transit is a federal requirement.Local government in burbs have enough tools to work with that will not happen. Jackson could stop this mess if they knew how and wanted to. First must know rule of game.

Anonymous said...

Why did the legislature pass, and the governor sign, the appropriation for these people? Did they not know what they were voting on, or are they just as much in Oxford House's pocket as the DMH seems to be? Legislators like Longwitz and Denny who want the residents to think they're rushing to rid NE Jax from this convenient election year scourge need to check their own voting records.

Anonymous said...

Anna and Neal Stephens cannot get out of Jackson soon enough for me...I heard they are planning on turning their current home into an Oxford house when they move to Bridgewater. I cannot wait to see how Bridgewater reacts when they start opening more of their greed houses in the Madison area.

Anonymous said...

12:45 pm - please state your source that "being near mass transit is a federal requirement."

I can't find that anywhere.

Robert P. Wise said...

The money as far as I understand thus far is Federal Block grant money, not state appropriated money, although we are still in discovery mode on all this. Sen. Will Longwitz and Rep. Bill Denny have stepped up to the plate, and their leadership I can tell you is vital to a resolution. Please be part of the solution.

Sauced is better than sour said...

I've lived in an Oxford house in Florida. The house was 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, swimming pool, and a wet bar. I loved it. They had to kick me out after 2 years. I hated leaving. Oxford House is doing a wonderful job for us addicts. I might just relaps to get back in for another 2 years.

Anonymous said...

I think funding may be through this award to MDMH from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - in response to this Request for Applications -

Anonymous said...

Robert, I'm not saying our elected representatives aren't trying, especially since election year spoils are up for grabs. However, if you'll read the following link to HB 1563, which is awaiting the Governor's signature, you'll see that both of the men who are working so hard to solve the problem also voted to give money to the Mississippi Home Corporation to help sustain the very programs they now are against.

Maybe since you are such close friends with our Senator you can ask him to explain what happened. Maybe the money that was appropriated to MHC is going to be used for entirely different purposes, but it sounds suspiciously like Oxford House money.

Robert P. Wise said...

I had exactly the same question that you have about HB 1563. Reading it at first blush, I had the same suspicions you have. However, I am assured from the people directly involved that HB 1563 has no money in it for OH.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone discovered HOW Neal and Anna Stephens initially CONNECTED with Oxford House.

There are a number of moving parts here -- Federal funds to the State for OH, State Agencies having budgetary disbursements to OH, the Stephens having some type of connection to someone (Federal, State, Local, Boston, etc.) who understood how lucrative OH could be for them.


Looks like Federal and State are being scrutinized heavily now -- however, where is the connection with Neal and Anna and HOW DID THEY CONNECT TO OH IN THE BEGINNING??

Anonymous said...

7:32 They went to the Harvard revival of "How to Succed in Business Without Really Trying".

Anonymous said...

"moving parts" - 7:32 PM/Alan Lange (I presume), bless your heart! BVD will not be happy if he gets wind of this post...

Although, I completely concur with 7:32's post, y'all. Can we call thad for assistance?

Anonymous said...

7:32 - Joe Stephens (father of Neal) is well known in the Mental Health arena.....he owned Millcreek Rehabilitation Center in Magee for decades. He is now involved with DORE - which also has connections to Mental Health. He sure learned lots of ways to make money thru the Mental Health System.....

Anonymous said...

9:15 -- 7:32 here and not Alan Lange. Uncertain who BVD is either, just asking a simple question, which 9:30 answered.

Thanks 9:30, this gives us another area to investigate for contract fraud, no-bid contracting, medicaid issues (appears they take it from review of the site), and Neal's daddy's involvement, in setting up his son and daughter-in-law in the lucrative family business.

Anonymous said...

Federal funds coming to a state agency, whether it's block grant or categorical grant, still become part of an agency's budget, and therefore an agency must follow both federal and state requirements regarding its expenditure. In light of the recent Corrections debacle, state agencies basically are precluded from issuing sole source contracts with legislation. So was the contract between DMH and Oxford House sole source? Or did DMH bid it out?

Anonymous said...

I am a lifelong northsider, and guilty of NIMBY. I think the Oxford House profits are a bit unseemly. But I have neighbors that are constantly in the midst of drug use and domestic arguments. Their teenagers usually let three to six of their friends sleep there every night. Once a month police are summoned. Because they don't flagrantly break any laws, they get to bring down the neighborhood (McMansion neighborhood in Ridgeland.). Well, welcome to the real world. Property rights trump your sense of decorum. Just because someone is a felon or drug addict, their rights don't go away. It sucks, but what I do is TRY to help my neighbors integrate into the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

2:24 -- the difference in your neighbors is that they are probably HOME OWNERS and can do what they want in the privacy of their home.

In this case, we're dealing with NON-HOMEOWNERS who are renting in our neighborhood at exorbitant rates and enriching a young couple who are arrogant, self-centered, and self-absorbed.

They made decisions for all of us (in their yourthful arrogance) that we had no choice in, nor were part of the discussion or decision.

Karma is a bitch -- and it will come back to bite these two! If I were Trustmark, Regions, Community Bank, etc. I'd be a bit worried -- since potentially they could be underwater on MANY homes they have mortgages on.....all created by two self-aborbed, ignorant young people.

This goes much further than "bad behavior" and if you think it cannot happen in your neighborhood, where you can TRY to help them integrate into, you might want to read about Runson, NJ --- your homeowner's rights are potentially under fire and you don't even know it.

Disclosure if you choose to sale and have this mess beside you is mandatory --- and that SINKS your value QUICKLY! You don't have to disclose bad HOME OWNING neighbors, but this is a different beast.

Anonymous said...

Their teenagers usually let three to six of their friends sleep there every night.

That's a bit different than those who will be living in the Fiser Stephens Halfway Houses........

Anonymous said...

What did they know and when did they know it? That is the question for our elected officials. One thing they cannot say is they did not know about OH now! I Have sent detailed letters explaining this scam to ALL of our federal and state elected officials. They and there staffers know. The next step is to have each PUBLICLY express their opinion about the matter in a statement and tell us the voter how THEY the politician that created this mess plan to fix it! They are allowing out home values, our very retirement investments to TANK.

ELECTED OFFICIALS (Cochran, Wicker, Harper, Bryant, Reeves, Gunn, Snowden, Longwitz, Denny) - we are waiting! Come out come out wherever you are. Time to standup for the people that standup for you on Election Day.

Anonymous said...

2:24 am
For 65 years now the residents of Sherwood Forest have invested in their homes, their largest investment, with the clear expectation of R-1 zoning, the covenants which include a clause against nuisances, and that the City and their neighbors would respect their right to the quiet, safe, secure enjoyment of their homes so they could raise families and live with their spouses free from fear.
Now OH and Anna Stephens et ux are placing persons OH admits are statistically at least 3/4 of criminal backgrounds 7 deep in a 3 bedroom house that was designed to be residential, not commercial. OH and the Stephens upended all these long standing, very real world expectations of R1 home owners who invested in those expectations, and without prior notice or even explanation, and apparently without care. There were and are better alternatives that do not breach discrimination requirements or invade the invested expectations of R1 homeowners.
"We shall find a way, or we shall make one" toward a better future before we are done.

Anonymous said...

Gunn and Denny have already been re-elected because they are unopposed.

Snowden has weak opposition and is the likely winner in his general election.

Cochran and Wicker and Reeves won't do shit though Reeves will continue to chow down enough fast food to feed two people.

Aren't numerically enough angry GOPers left in NEJackson to worry Harper in the least.

Bryant is an empty suit who will coast to his re-election.

Longwitz, while he should be applauded for being very visible right now, has been effectively AWOL and done nothing for NEJackson over the past 4 years.

The Oxford Houses in NEJackson are the result of Republican governance and benefits the family member of one big-time GOP heavy hitter in Mississippi. Sorry, you'll get plenty of lip service but in the end that collection of GOPers ain't gonna f^%k with BVD.

NEackson has been sacrificed because it is trending rapidly Democrat. Dorsey Carson proved it. You are as good as dead to the Mississippi Republican Party.

The MSGOP will smile and take your money and some members will happily host GOP fundraisers behind the walls of their last redoubts in places like Eastover but they are not gonna do nothing to stop the Neal and Anna Stephens-like vultures from lining their pockets by turning your neighborhoods into "sober" house Superfund sites.

Have you heard Leland Speed or any other GOPer in Eastover of any heft publicly come out in opposition to Stephensville? NOPE. The question therefore becomes Why Not?

Anonymous said...

2:24, you are lying. You copied and pasted a paragraph generated by Oxford House, and inserted 'Northsider', and '(McMansion neighborhood in Ridgeland)'.

I have no doubt that either you are one of the local criminals involved in this scheme, or you are an employee of Oxford house, writing from out-of-state.

In any event, your sick attempt to "guilt" your victims into submission is NOT going to work. ALL of us who live in Mississippi have grown up having to deal with assorted religious sickos, attempting to "guilt" us into whatever outcomes were required by their agendas. We have a built-up immunity to such tactics.

What you copied and pasted is a clear attempt to demoralize the victims of the Stephens "family". Your tactics are not going to work. Your victims, in this locale, are not EVER going to relent, or forgive, or forget. And none of them are going to be CONNED into a single moment of guilt over their resistance to your THEFT of the value of their homes.

Anonymous said...

" Joe Stephens - Joe Stephens - Director at Dore Jackson
Joe Stephens

Joe Stephens - Director

Joe met Wynford Dore at the Harvard Business School Owner President Management Program in 1993. Since Joe had worked with individuals with learning difficulties for 25 years, Wynford knew Joe would be interested in helping him bring Dore to the US in 2002. Joe traveled to England, spent time around the development team, met many excited clients at the Dore Center, and has been passionate ever since to enlighten the US about this wonderful program."

Anonymous said...

The Stephens and Oxford House just need to cut there losses and pull out of this neighborhood. If they don't then they're going to force the Housewife of NE Jackson to write another scathing and defaming email about them. No one better get between the Housewife of NE Jackson and her 4 kids. Especially if you're recovering from a disease like alcoholism or drug addiction and just happen to be black or brown.

Anonymous said...

Don't be gettin between the landlords and their governmint gravy train!

lol at the new spam blocker! Now I'm fittin to be hongry!

Anonymous said...

4:47 -- how's the weather up there in Maryland at OH???? BTW -- guilt doesn't work down here anymore --- we're WAY beyond that -- so try it somewhere that's more politically correct.

Anonymous said...

7:15. Exactly what I thought about 4:47: A plant by OH to portray us as discriminatory in Jackson when in fact we are lawfully concerned OH is just a very bad option when better options are available for housing the disabled that do not endanger R1 neighborhoods. OH needs to quit trying to set us up on JJ. Just stop.

Robert said...

Yeah, you can't support addicts or alcoholics and be from Mississippi. Have to be either an Oxford House employee, or not from here. Compassion and common sense don't exist here.

Anonymous said...

8:22 --- then move somewhere else -- but preferably stay in Maryland. That's the best place for you. Maybe you can dig your way out of the FEDERAL scrutiny that's about to occur.

Anonymous said...

7:15 Trust me, the African Americans in this state know that you and your kind can't be guilted into doing what is right. Your grandparents could not be guilted into letting African Americans buy homes in their neighborhoods, send their kids to the same schools, or eat in the same restaurants. You can continue to discriminate against people in this state and city that are different than you, but there are some people that are tired of your way of thinking and are moving this state forward. Instead of discriminating against the people that are wanting to move into Oxford House, it would be nice to see these self professed christians in NE Jackson welcome them and support them in their recovery. Maybe we can get the Housewife of NE Jackson to get down off of her high horse and send out an email asking her neighbors to actually follow the teachings in the Bible that they carry to church every week.

Anonymous said...

8:22 - your compassion = corruption. You are defending and are probably part of the OH scam. You remind me of the DEA Chief today trying to defend sex parties funded by drug cartels. We are use to your bunch defending the indefensible. You're sick. Get some help, But do it on your dime, not ours.

Anonymous said...

R-1 zoning should prohibit this land use. Real simple. I guess this the highest and best use for land in Jackson at this point in time so should mean nothing.This is all that is left for a third world city.

Anonymous said...

8:49 -- I repeat -- you've run that dog into the ground -- just won't hunt here anymore.

When you and your ilk abused the true meaning of the words: racist, bigot, sexist (the list goes on) --- you have lost the power of the words.

WE just don't care. Sorry -- try your guilt where you live -- somewhere like Maryland, Delaware, etc. To repeat: IT HAS NO EFFECT ANYMORE HERE.

This is about our rights as homeowners -- your rights end where ours begin. This time we're not taking anything from you -- but you certainly are trouncing on our rights and we're standing up to you. Consider this our civil rights movement!

Anonymous said...

According to oxford, "each house is a single family dwelling with 2 bathrooms and 4 or more bedrooms."
Just saying...
Does Anna's property meet those requirements?

Anonymous said...

No, Anna's houses do not meet those guidelines. Anna rents her small 3 bedroom houses on Northside and Forest Park to up to 7 men formed she does not know. In reality OH imposes no standards that are meaningful to R1 values.

Anonymous said...

I hear a second halfway house is about to open on Newland Street.

Thanks to the Stephens for all their great work.

But seriously, if your child's school is under contract with Dore, LLC please ask the school to reconsider. This family is screwing the very parents of the children they claim to help.

Let's see home values in six months within six blocks of this non halfway, halfway house.

Anonymous said...

This is 2:24 from yesterday. I am not a plant. I was born at St. D. Graduated from Prep and have a kid at J.A. I was raising an alternate viewpoint. I do not want an OH house next to me either. But, the argument that it is different because they are not homeowners holds no water with me. There hasn't been a requirement to own land to vote or be a full member of our community in 150 years. I do have compassion for addicts or ex-cons as they try to re-establish themselves as contributing members of society. Like it or not, one of your neighbors has a son who is a complete screw-up. Your neighbor has the right to welcome his black-sheep son home when he gets out of prison. I feel there is very little difference between that situation and several screw ups living together.

Anonymous said...

The average length of stay at an Oxford Home is 9 months. Even if a neighbor invites home a son who is a complete screw up, the neighbor is still a homeowner and more than likely supervising their son and committed in relationship in the long run. Oxford House has no supervision in the home and people come and go as they leave with a federally paid outreach worker checking up on them every once in a while. Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

2:33 am
Your confused brain would be better ordered if you had the discipline to be asleep at 2:33 am instead of posting.

"Several screw ups living together" is far less than 7 that constitutes a crowded commercial boarding house in reality, not R1 residential housing. Only in the backwards Looking Glass world of OH is that considered R1.

Anonymous said...

2:33 -- Then you don't get it.

ECONOMICALLY we have 2 people who had made an ECONOMIC decision to move 7 men into our neighborhood -- NOT a SCREW UP SON whose family has a vested economic interest in the upkeep of their personal property, property values, neighbor's opinions since they know and work with those people, and the ability to MANAGE their son's behavior once he moves back into their HOME that they OWN.

Great that you're a member of our community -- SAD that you don't understand the impact ECONOMICALLY of this mess. Banks will lose money on mortgages because homes won't sale (underwater), families lose the integrity of their neighborhood because two arrogant young people wrote a check we're all having to pay.

This goes well beyond "social acceptance" --- and drives to the heart of investments (a person's home is normally their largest investment in life), security, and the very definition of R-1 zoning.

This is a "flop house" or "boardinghouse" which has been setup by again, 2 arrogant, self-absorbed young people who are making an obscene amount of money monthly off their "halfway homes" while touting some bizarre line that they are helping and supporting addicts in a home with (1) no oversight, (2) no clinical counseling, and (3) no background checks on those men entering the home.

Are you aware that most of the people in rehab programs are not just one issue "people" -- THEY ARE ADDICTS for a reason and addicition many times is symptomatic of OTHER REAL issues which are detrimental to society and individuals. They may have multiple issues to include -- drugs, alcohol, criminal records, sexual issues (yes those people ARE accepted into a home since their "primary" issue is considered addiction - check the Oxford House Website).

Bottom line -- you are naive if you think this is all about "supporting the addict". At what point do we as a society keep supporting personal issues at the expense of the community? I would think that we need to stop adapting to the addict, and they need to start adapting to us. It starts with Department of Mental Health and the Federal Government halting the support of places like OH which are a money making operation that lives off OUR tax dollars which almost all of their budget targeted for personal salaries and travel. Then to add insult to injury they have no problem using OUR tax they have received to sue municipalities, so they can put in more homes and develop more grant dollars. Educate yourself -- there are MANY MANY MANY reputable programs for addicts out there ---- Oxford House and the Stephen's Model is NOT one.

Anonymous said...

2:24- apparently they dropped you on your head at St. D when you were born. Making a cogent argument is not something you appear capable of doing. Consult your OH buddies first for talking points. They usually like to try some Jesus, Bible, and white guilt mixed with a little sexism and racism. Water off a ducks back. We have been insulted for 150 years. No affect. OH remains public enemy number one and that will not change. Cheers.

Unknown said...

In addition to breaking and then litigating all zoning laws, this about OH kills me: "Oxford House, Inc. had 15 court cases in 2014, but it specifically asked judges never to award damages to tenants. Although the model is predicated on self-governance, CEO Paul Molloy does not trust those recovering to govern themselves".

Anonymous said...

7:34. As far as enemies of R1 Jackson values, Anna and Neal, who apparently each have relationships with JA through Dore or coaching, are right up there with OH.

Anonymous said...

This is about money, nothing more. Money that the landlords are making that others think they shouldn't, and money that the neighborhood homeowners think they'll be losing on the value of their homes. Reduce the total rent to market value and guarantee a sale price for neighborhood homes and the crisis will be over.

Anonymous said...

Carlton, er, David Molloy. Why are you spamming here?

Anonymous said...

8:04 -- yep -- and JA is going to feel the economic impact of their decisions to support these two idiots.

Hope they realize Prep is an option. A very good option.

Anonymous said...

8:27 If Prep had the lower grades, JA would be in trouble. JA could have moved north several years ago but chose to invest in current site..Bad, Bad decision.

Anonymous said...

8:10 - a little more to it than that -- disclosure when you sale is critical -- so even if you brought the number of tenants down to 3 (one for each bedroom) and had a true market value for rent, there is still the little issue of neighborhood home values being affected directly by having a half-way house sitting on their street with all the associated issues outlined in previous post) in relationship to the tenants. I can promise you, I wouldn't buy a home beside a half-way house. Would you?

Also -- if you're attempting to support Anna and Neal's business model with good old American ingenuity and know how (ala capitalism and the market) -- while they might be legal, are morally corrupt in their approach.

It is quite funny and SAD how they want to destroy the host, while supporting the parasite. Their youth and greed is amazing.

Just aligning rents and stabalizing home values (which I have outlined cannot be done based on the tenant makeup in the home), will not alleviate the issues associated with the Stephen's business model. More importantly -- our ELECTED officials are also CULPABLE in this mess --- handing out like drunk sailors, money to OH with no requirements, constraints, or competitive bidding (think MDOC). When are we going to wakeup and see who is orchestrating this mess.

I voted for Thad Cochran, Roger Wicker, and Greg Harper, Phil Bryant, Tate Reeves, et. al. however, I might have to rethink the process next round of elections. Also, I'm hearing a lot of the same rumblings from all my neighbors. We feel taken for granted!!!!

I can promise this is a pivotal issue in our neighborhood, and you are correct in one regard -- it IS a money issue, in that we (this time as opposed to what Neal and Anna did to us) can choose where our money is spent, and who we support in the next round of elections.

Anonymous said...

Like ol' Kingfish said on WJNT. It really is simple. Kill property values in NE Jackson and you reduce the amount of property tax revenues received from one of the last remaining residential tax bases in the city.

Anonymous said...

I live in the neighborhood. I don't care if the tenants are white, black, yellow, orange, purple or rainbow-striped. I don't want them here, period, no matter their color. It's not about that. It's about their criminal histories, their addictions, the fact that they are stuffing them at least 7 deep in a 3 bedroom house with NO oversight, some who are only a few days "sober," among other things.

Anonymous said...

10:18 -- yep, and the "Killing" is based on social decisions made for all of us by a pair of self-absorbed idiots.

All of Jackson should be concerned with what is happening here, because we pay the bills. When we pull out -- they have NOTHING.

YARBER YARBER YARBER -- where are you?????

OOPS -- MIA like Bryant, Denny, Cochran, Reeves, Wicker, Harper, Gunn..............hmmm -- the only one stepping up to the plate as a leader here is.....LONGWITZ.

Denny should be worried -- he's going to have some stiff competition on the next election round. We all found we missed the filing date so he is running unopposed -- he might want to make this 2 years his swan song.

People are meeting in groups in the neighborbood and he will NOT be re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Good points, 9:05, but please let me know when moral fiber moves into the top ten reasons to make an investment. No, I wouldn't want to live next to these guys, but neither would I want to move in next to a house with seven college kids or seven Mexican roofers. The argument that rental housing - and in this case, boarding houses - drive down the property values is valid, but that ship sailed a long time ago. The right to do whatever you want with your property, within legal limits, is also valid. In this case I think the lawmakers, and hence the residents - or should it be the other way around? - got caught with their pants down and now they're paying the price.

Anonymous said...

Small problem 10:57 AM. Denny gets another FOUR year term. Not two.

Anonymous said...

11:02 - so I'm assuming you worked for Worldcom here in Jackson, and your investments include Libyan Oil and Philip Morris Tobacco.

I would hope that some investment decisions would be based on ethical reasoning, not just the bottom line, which is EXACTLY what Neal and Anna did.

R-1 zoning does have some discriminators -- what really counts at the end of the day however, is the federal faucet that is spilling funds to this OH group, with no constraints. Neal and Anna are just eating from the pig trough developed by OH.

Hard to be caught with your pants down, when NO notification was given to the neighborhood that a halfway house was being put into our backyard.

Re-read the article and you'll understand this is the OH model. Wait til it comes to your street -- then you might feel differently. We're fighting an offensive front now, however, what we didn't understand initially, is that the enemy infiltrated through turncoats in our own neighborhood (Stephens). Yes, you can have rental houses in a neighborhood legally and it is within your legal right rent those houses, however, understand that WE HAVE THE RIGHT to fight the homeowners and OH, ANY WAY we can, and are not sitting dormant.

Politicians beware -- meetings are occurring frequently, and email groups along with social media have sprouted up -- we're your worst enemy now. If you're not involved at this point, prepare to be run over.

Anonymous said...

11:17 -- Sorry was thinking federally -- my error. Thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, 11:44, but morals aren't legal arguments. Would I have made that investment and intruded on this neighborhood, or any other for that matter? No, but that's irrelevant. And it's not a halfway house, as has been made abundantly clear. It's a rental house that's being rented by a bunch of recovering addicts. Would your objection be the same if it was being rented by a bunch of college kids or bankers or Indian chiefs? The problem is that the residents paid no attention when the boarding houses were allowed in R1 zoning, and now that they're there with their federally protected status you'll never get rid of them. Sorry...maybe they'll end up being nice guys and good neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Young Harvey Yarber won't do shit. He won't even make a statement expressing solidarity with the homeowner's impacted. Young Harvey is too busy reviewing the proofs for the next bullshit Jackson magazine he's going to send out. Talk about a waste of taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

12:37 -- How's the weather up there in Maryland???

Just realized you were an OH plant. No need to fluff your feathers with code words you have learned -- NE Jackson, my kids go to JA, my grandmother lives in the neighborhood, I was born a rich white child and I'm one of your neighbors, etc.

Just understand that we understand who you are now. The last lines gave you away -- they're the party line of OH -- might want to have a group meeting up there and get some new talking points.

Anonymous said...

Nope, wrong again. I'm not even the same guy you accused of being from Maryland (Maryland?) before. I live in Madison and feel badly for those of you whose leaders allowed this to happen to you. I have friends that are affected and wish there was something they could do. That said, I'm confident that our mayor and aldermen won't let the zoning reach the point where we allow boarding houses.

Anonymous said...

Too bad for some of you that it's not as easy to get Oxford House out of your neighbor than it was to force your pastor out at First Baptist. I hope Brother Smith didn't get let go because he told his congregation to read and apply Matthew 25:31-46 when it comes to Oxford House. Whenever a preacher steps on the wrong toes of certain congregation members, their religion suddenly takes a back seat to their egos. Maybe we'll get an email from a certain housewife telling us that Brother Smith leaving is what's best for her and her 4 kids.

Anonymous said...

3:47 -- Xanadu, Nirvana and Mayberry all rolled into one. Beware -- from my life experience, the wheel ALWAYS turns at some point. I think I'd rethink my smugness and condescension.

Anonymous said...

Didn't mean to be smug or condescending, but facts are facts. NE Jackson allows boarding houses because the city leaders, duly elected by the people, have allowed it. The Queen is not so hospitable. She may not be at the helm forever, but our ship will be mighty hard for someone else to turn.

Anonymous said...

What about the house on the corner of Ashley Drive and Old Canton Road ( Across the street from Green Oak Nursery ) where ALFA Insurance is setting up shop? They have already nailed a sign on the side of the house. What about R1A zoning? Does this allow a business like that to operate in the middle of neighborhoods?

Anonymous said...

Attention Neal and Anna Support Club -- to include "Brother Smith".

We have developed a group you can join ---- Supporters of Couples Related to Egotistical and Wanton Urban Speculation (SCREW-US) -- Just sign your post in the future with this acronym or if you're posting out of country -- drop the US so we know you're a foreign group helping out OH. A simple SCREWS (take out the URBAN) will suffice.

Help us identify more quickly (sometimes it's easy) those out there either screwing us or supporting those who want to screw us.

Signed -- NIMBYs

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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