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May 23, 2008


Bob Langill

City regulations state "no more than 4 unrelated individuals can live in one apartment". Sober Surroundings cannot have the ten that MacDonald wants. Sober Surroundings must bring the amount of residents down to eight, four on the first floor unit and four on the second floor unit. They do not want to do this. Why? At eight total, there would be seven paying residents and one non paying supervisor. This would mean a yearly rental income of $49,140 (7 x $135 based on full occupancy) which does not include the admittance fee. At ten total this would give them nine paying residents and one non paying that would mean an income of $63,180 (again based on full occupancy with 9 x $135). The financial windfall to this is the $250 admittance fee. With addictions being hard to kick the turn over rate is the key to the money making aspect of these "Sober Houses". If I am wrong tell me where I erred and convince me that I am wrong by registering and licensing this facility. If licensed real guidance, monitoring and other benefits would have to take place. Therefore decreasing their profits, operating in the red and then having to seek state and federal funds.

Joe Lynch

I would like to thank Matt McLaughlin and the Somerville News for the continuing coverage. There is one factual error I would like to correct in the above story.

The multiple public safety incidents at 31 Wilton Street were first brought to the attention of Ward 5 Alderman Sean O'Donovan, then acting police Chief Bob Bradley and Inspectional Services in the fall of 2006. Police records indicate at least three calls for assistance for possible drug related overdoses. Multiple calls have been made to the police by neighbors for possible drug transactions and for assistance to dispose of hypodermic needles found in front of and in the vacinity of the property. Police and resident accounts of the exact number of calls vary.

The residents who have been reporting these incidents are not "scared", but rather have a legitimate beef with the behavior of some of the residents of the "sober house".

Since this issue was referred to the Board of Aldermen Committee on Public Safety(with White, Pero and Connolly as members) and with the diligence and attention of current police Chief Holloway, this public safety matter is now well on its way to resolution.

East Cambridge

Hello Somerville, I read the article today and have been experiencing similar drug concerns on my street in East Cambridge for a long time. Not so much with sober houses but with subsidized housing.

Recently, we had 2 fires in 6 months on the same street only a few houses apart. One was proven to be drug related while the other one was ... ahem....suspicious and still being investigated.

Then another fire occurred at a larger building in another part of the city, which was minor, just a few weeks ago. I will supply the links below for further info.

My recommendation is to do whatever you can to get the landlord to install sprinklers and stay on the police to be aggressive with drug enforcement.

This is a dangerous situation and it should not be taken lightly as it was here in the Republic of Cambridge. Unfortunately, these are the laws we live with because not enough good taxpaying citizens make themselves heard.




Lou Hain

The best way to make sure this house remains a sober house without drug dealing is to be strict about promptly kicking out anyone who drinks or deals drugs. That should stand as a clear example to those who remain of what will happen to them if they step out of line. Meanwhile, with strict rules, the house will not be a bother to the neighborhood.

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