Residents raise concerns about sober living homes in neighborhoods

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LUBBOCK, Texas– During the past year, BHive Recovery Ministry opened two sober living facilities in two Central Lubbock neighborhoods. 

Since moving into homes on 44th Street and 49th Street, neighbors raised concerns about having these homes near a school and families with children.

“It just doesn’t seem to be an appropriate area to open it up in,” said Candace Penn, a nearby resident. 

Since the home opened, Penn said she has also seen an increase in parking congestion causing problems for neighbors, and property values decrease.

“I know a lot of neighbors are having issues because their driveways are getting blocked by residents and their visitors,” Penn said. 

Chris Wyatt, the assistant director of BHive Recovery Ministry, said these homes are strictly monitored to ensure the residents are safe and they integrate smoothly into the community.

“We have 24-hour staff here on sight to make sure the clients are safe,” Wyatt said. “They have chores to do. They go out and find work and jobs, they have mandatory meetings to make, as well as church.”

In addition, they conduct random urinalysis and breathalyzer tests to make sure residents maintain their sobriety.

The individuals in the homes just want a chance at a positive and productive life, Wyatt added. 

“When you are honest about those things, this is what we have done, this is what we are trying not to do and this is what we want to become, I think everybody should be able to become something than they’ve never had an opportunity to do,” Wyatt said. 

However, according to the city, these homes do not have the permits to operate and are doing so illegally. 

“First of all, they would have to have six or less residents in the home,” said Steve Massengale, City councilman for District Four. 

He also said the home must meet square footage requirements per resident, manage appropriate parking, and pass inspections by the Fire Marshall and Environmental Health. 

“I think the goal is to make sure they operate in a way that isn’t a nuisance to the neighborhood,” Massengale said. 

Currently, the home is protected by state and federal laws that supersede local laws, according to Massengale. However, during the next few months the city will monitor the situation to ensure BHive Recovery Ministry is in compliance with the appropriate permitting. 

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