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. ••EndFragment