WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - Recovery advocate Phillip Cory is standing in what was once considered ground zero for the Delray Beach halfway house community. He says last year at this time, almost all of the homes on these blocks in the southeastern part of the city were filled with recovering addicts.
But not anymore.
"Basically 40 percent have been cleared out," Cory said.
The mass exodus of halfway homes, also called sober houses, happened after the city passed an ordinance a year ago. The ordinance limits the number of non related people in a home to three, and limits the number of times a house can be rented in a year to six. Homes had one year to come into compliance.
"The people who got in thinking it was a cash cow, to make a ton of money, aren't around anymore," Cory said.
Many of the places that remain, he says, are setting a new standard for the way sober houses are run.
Places like Royal Recovery Resources. The facility was renovated last September.
In extreme cases, there could have been ten people to a room, now the limit is two beds per room.
"We want to shed the image of a typical halfway house," said manager Frank Cid. "We watch everything they do and they have curfews."
City Commissioner Adam Frankel admits the city still has a long way to go. Right now, there is no specific department responsible for cracking down on homes that may be skirting the rules.
"Enforcement will have to start with residents in the community," Frankel said. "They need to be calling code enforcement."
Phillip Cory admits there were many in the recovery field that were afraid of the ramifications of the ordinance. Today, he realizes it was a benefit.
"We have some really good places now doing it the right way," he said. "They are providing a safe, sober environment."