Recovery houses a hot topic at Frankford Civic meeting

Il­leg­al hous­ing for ad­dicts “has been plaguing our neigh­bor­hood for years,” state Rep. James Clay told mem­bers of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation dur­ing their Sept. 5 meet­ing.

The 179th Dis­trict Demo­crat was ad­dress­ing those sen­ti­ments to a re­cept­ive group. The as­so­ci­ation’s mem­bers have com­plained for years about large num­bers of un­li­censed and crowded build­ings used for “trans­ition­al hous­ing” for re­cov­er­ing nar­cot­ics ad­dicts.

The civic as­so­ci­ation isn’t against ad­dicts try­ing to re­cov­er, said the group’s pres­id­ent, Pete Specos, but it is against so many halfway houses and re­cov­ery houses be­ing in Frank­ford, es­pe­cially, he said, since so many are not be­ing op­er­ated un­der any gov­ern­ment con­trol. Many of the op­er­at­ors of these houses simply take money from ad­dicts and provide little more than a place to sleep and pick up their pub­lic as­sist­ance checks.

“We are not against re­cov­ery,” Specos said. “We are against tak­ing money and not help­ing.”

Clay is host­ing a town hall meet­ing to dis­cuss the prob­lem from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus, 4900 Frank­ford Ave. He en­cour­aged neigh­bor­hood res­id­ents to re­port il­leg­al fa­cil­it­ies to his of­fice be­fore the meet­ing by call­ing 215-744-7901.

“Some of these houses are really bring­ing our neigh­bor­hood down,” Clay said.

An­oth­er guest speak­er, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, talked with the as­so­ci­ation’s mem­bers about his back­ground and his planned run for the 13th Con­gres­sion­al seat in 2014.

Boyle is among four Demo­crats who will seek their party’s nom­in­a­tion for the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz. The con­gress­wo­man is run­ning for her party’s gubernat­ori­al nom­in­a­tion. About half of the dis­trict is in Phil­adelphia. The oth­er half is in Mont­gomery County.

Boyle said he is the only Phil­adelphi­an in the con­gres­sion­al race.

“The oth­ers are Main Line mil­lion­aires,” he said.

The law­maker stressed his middle-class roots and said he sees two parts to his role in the state le­gis­lature. One, he said, was to work on policy and le­gis­la­tion. The oth­er is to ad­dress loc­al, qual­ity of life is­sues. He said he would ap­proach hold­ing a con­gres­sion­al seat the same way.

Specos said pa­rish­ion­ers of the re­cently closed St. Joachim’s R.C. Church are pe­ti­tion­ing the Vat­ic­an to re­open the church. To raise money to pay leg­al fees, they’re hold­ing a Beef and Beer night on Fri­day, Dec. 13, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the New Phil­adelphia Ball­room, 2014 Horn­ing Road. Tick­ets are $30, Specos said, and the event is open to adults only. There will be an in­ex­pens­ive cash bar for those who want a little more than beer, he said. ••

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