Sponsored by:

No eviction order keeps relapsing people in housing

Granite State News Collaborative
Published: 5/8/2020 4:25:15 PM
Modified: 5/8/2020 4:25:03 PM

People who stumble on their road to recovery in a sober house usually face the prospect of being evicted when they relapse, but the state’s current ban on evictions is complicating the already fraught process.

Keith Howard, executive director at the Hope for New Hampshire Recovery community center in Manchester, said some residents are relapsing while living in the transitional sober house located in the floors above his Wilson Street recovery center. The sober housing units are operated by Families in Transition, and Howard said residents who violate the sober housing agreements are usually supposed to be evicted.

“As I understand it, Gov. (Chris) Sununu’s order regarding evictions has made it very difficult for recovery houses in the state to discharge folks for violating agreements regarding remaining sober,” Howard said. “There appears to be recovery houses where one or two or more residents have suffered a recurrence.”

Families in Transition offers a variety of housing and recovery treatment options at the Manchester recovery center facility, said Meg Shea, vice president of clinical and supportive services for Families in Transition. Shea could not comment on any specific instances, but said Families in Transition generally tries to avoid evictions for clients.

“We come from a different philosophy, we truly believe the treatment process can be pretty complex,” Shea said.

Shea did say that Families in Transition will take action, even eviction, if there is a concern for the safety of any of the clients. When that does happen, the organization is careful to follow relevant state law. At present moment, Shea said Families in Transition is well aware of the current executive orders regarding evictions.

“We follow all of the stay at home orders and the executive orders that have taken place,” Shea said.

As part of the COVID-19 pandemic response, Sununu temporarily halted evictions and foreclosures by way of an emergency order as soon as a state of emergency was first declared in March. Howard said the order has created some problems for people in recovery, as the normal consequence of relapsing in a sober house is no longer being enforced.

Kim Bock, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences, said Thursday that evictions have dropped off for the most part throughout the state’s recovery housing system. That’s due in large part because of an effort to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness.

“People are playing it as safe as possible,” Bock said.

Recovery centers being able to enforce an eviction is a question, Bock said. Under normal circumstances pre-COVID-19, people could be evicted for relapsing. Howard said that could mean homelessness for the person evicted. Being out on the street during a pandemic is less than ideal, Howard said.

“Every place is a dangerous place to be when it comes to COVID-19.”

Evictions sometimes mean calling police to have the person removed, Bock said. However, Bock said, police are generally not being called to the houses.

“Police are not getting called out to deal with evictions,” Bock said. “It’s hard to even get police out to people’s houses.”

In some cases, Bock has heard about people getting moved from one house to another if there is an issue with sobriety. Howard said recovery houses can be influential with people in the early stages of their sobriety.

“I’ve been in recovery for 12 years and I’m responsible for my own recovery, but when I first got clean and got sober, if I was surrounded by people using it would have been a lot harder to get through,” Howard said.

According to Shea, the Wilson Street facility combines different services, including outpatient treatment, recovery housing for women with children, and transitional housing for single women.

“It’s a unique building in our community meant to tackle co-occurring mental health and addiction issues,” Shea said.

Shea said the goal for Families in transition is to get people to a healthy and safe place in their lives. That journey can sometimes include a relapse, Shea said.

“We’re not going to give up on people,” Shea said.


These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

Sign up for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Newsletters
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Headline Alerts
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute North
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute South
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Real Estate & Transactions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Contests and Promotions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Dining & Entertainment
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Sports


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458


© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy