In September of 2015, while the State of New Hampshire grappled with an unprecedented and deadly opioid epidemic, eight clean and sober men were living peacefully as a single household focused on addiction recovery in Franklin, NH. The home is 3,600 square feet with two full bathrooms; the previous owners raised seven children in the house. The men supported each other in recovery, attended regular 12-step meetings together, passed random drug tests, met regular curfews, and shared in household chores. Down-time was often spent in fellowship on the front porch while watching federal marshals and local police raid the apartment building across the street. No law enforcement ever came to raid the home at 60 Depot Street.
Then City zoning officials came calling. While these officials appreciated what the home was attempting to offer “certain” members of the community, the City issued a Cease and Desist Order with a 30 day deadline. Six of the eight sober men would have to go.
On October 8, Driven By Circumstances responded with a detailed explanation of residents’ protected status under the Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988, a status affirmed repeatedly by federal courts. DBC asked for reconsideration of the City’s position. The City stands by its decision. DBC is appealing that decision. Officials say a public hearing will be scheduled on the matter in February.
To our knowledge, this will be the first time the federal right to fair housing for persons in recovery from alcoholism and addiction has been rescinded in the State of New Hampshire.