Northeast Times

Stop-Work Order Issued on Frankford Addiction Recovery House

Frank­ford res­id­ents say that their com­munity has enough prob­lems already and are skep­tic­al about this house, which is sup­posed to be turned in­to a drug-re­hab or men­tal-re­cov­ery house soon, Fri­day, Ju­ly 6, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

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The city has ordered work to stop at an old Frank­ford build­ing that neigh­bors say will house re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts.

An L&I in­spect­or on Fri­day told work­ers they could com­plete their shifts at 4834 Penn St., but must stop any fur­ther work un­til con­struc­tion per­mits are ac­quired, ac­cord­ing to City Coun­cil­wo­man Maria Quinones-Sanc­hez.

“Our re­search in­dic­ates that no cur­rent or re­cent work per­mits have been is­sued for any con­struc­tion or al­ter­a­tion of this prop­erty,” the coun­cil­wo­man wrote in an e-mail to the North­east Times on Fri­day. She said po­lice can en­force a cease-work or­der from the De­part­ment of Li­censes & In­spec­tions.

A demon­stra­tion against what res­id­ents say are plans for long-term hous­ing of up to 30 people with men­tal health or drug prob­lems is sched­uled to take place at 9 a.m. at the corner of Penn and Har­ris­on streets, ac­cord­ing to Pete Specos, pres­id­ent of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation.

More than 50 people jammed the as­so­ci­ation’s Ju­ly 5 meet­ing in Aria Health’s cafet­er­ia to com­plain about what they said were plans to house re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts on the prop­erty.

Frank Ben­nett, vice pres­id­ent of the North­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation, offered $1,000 from his or­gan­iz­a­tion to as­sist any leg­al ef­fort that Frank­ford makes to en­sure the Penn Street fa­cil­ity nev­er opens.

“Stop it now,” he said.

Dea­con La­mont Pur­nell, who op­er­ates a non-profit called In­nov­at­ive Treat­ment Al­tern­at­ives, said on Fri­day his or­gan­iz­a­tion wants to work out of the Penn Street prop­erty. His group “works primar­ily with people who have be­ha­vi­or­al health prob­lems,” in­clud­ing men­tal-health and drug ad­dic­tion, as well as HIV.

Once the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s city per­mits is­sues are settled, he said, work will con­tin­ue so that 4834 Penn St. will be used as a long-term, as­sisted-liv­ing room­ing house that will provide 24/7 su­per­vi­sion to cli­ents and help them with their med­ic­a­tion and edu­ca­tion goals.

He said the prop­erty’s prox­im­ity to Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus was one of the reas­ons it was chosen.

“We want to build up Frank­ford,” he said in a phone in­ter­view. “Ba­sic­ally, I don’t know why the com­munity is up in arms.”

Drug-re­hab­il­it­a­tion pro­grams and room­ing houses for re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts are sore points in Frank­ford, and for the past sev­er­al years, res­id­ents have com­plained that there are too many of them in their neigh­bor­hood.

Res­id­ents have wondered aloud at com­munity meet­ings if the con­cen­tra­tion of drug-treat­ment fa­cil­it­ies or so-called “re­cov­ery houses” for ad­dicts is tied to the neigh­bor­hood’s need, or if it’s just been easy to es­tab­lish them in Frank­ford.

After the demon­stra­tion on Monday, Specos said, there will be a press con­fer­ence at­ten­ded by loc­al law­makers. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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