Letter to the Editor: Affordable housing opportunity

Do you know how unrelated individuals who are living together in sobriety are considered “single families” under the Federal Fair Housing Act? This is nothing new but for some reason, the topic is not talked about often enough, so people should be informed about this potential resource that can be created by groups who wish to stay sober together. Right now, I estimate there are over 100 “sobriety families” living in single-family homes in Sussex County right now and the trend will continue as the housing crisis gets worse.

In other words, groups of eight to 10 to 12 or more unrelated individuals can move in together. This means that no change in zoning is required. They can just move right in after a lease is signed. This group is considered a real “single family” under the law. I refer to them as “sobriety families” and all a “sobriety family” needs to find is a rentable single-family home in the community. The home looks and acts like a group home but under the FHA the home is a single family-home just like the other homes in the neighborhood.

To me, this is a quick and painless opportunity for affordable housing for the many individuals fighting for their sobriety and their economic survival at the same time. This is a great financial incentive for them to stay clean and sober. These “sobriety families” also save lives and provide safe housing so vulnerable people can sleep at night.

Jim Martin
Director, Shepherd’s Office

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