Jennifer Hansen discussed her sober living homes and answered questions during the recent Ventnor Commissioner meeting of Sept 24. WATCH VIDEO.
Close to 90 participated online, with another group sitting inside Ventnor City Hall chambers.
Hansen runs 5 sober homes in Ventnor. At least 20 others are owned by other Ventnor owners. Some suggest there are many more of these type of facilities. See: Conflicting home counts.
Sober-Living homes by Hansen Foundation in Ventnor.
Former addicts are disabled people protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Laws protect them against discrimination. Currently, we have conflicting state & local laws as it pertains to land use & zoning of these sober-living facilities.
Hansen says she wants to own, rather than rent these homes.
Do these Ventnor sober-living homes pay taxes? Jennifer Hansen says: If it’s owned by a non-profit….they shouldn’t. Some of them, we do. If they are rented, yes they do .
Hansen agrees about the cluster & density issues. She wants to move to other locations, but it takes time. For example, her Newark Ave property took 9 months to acquire.
Geoff Gordon: Would Ms. Hanson seek 501C3 tax-exempt status? If so, Ventnor taxpayers would have to cover that tax shortfall?
Jon Hampton: Between Weymouth and Austin Ave, there appears to be 8+ of these facilities. This is super-saturation.
Landgraf says there are approx 25 sober living homes in Ventnor. Hansen says she counts only half that number.
Houses are placed near business, so residents can easily get to work.
From the live chat:
Gregory Allen: Rented houses are not subject to the Fair Housing Act. Is this the reason you’re trying to get out of using rentals?
Four sober living homes on one block. Three are right next to each other. Austin Ave.?
Hansen: I’m trying to spread them out. Doing best I can. Hansen willing to sit down with neighbors. Maybe even host a townhall.
Spiro Sallata: Seems to be a thriving business, at the expense of residents.
Joy Kurtz: Will our taxes be affected if there are so many homes bought as 501c3?
Jennifer Hansen: We own 2 houses on Austin, those will stay level 3 (24/7 supervision houses with no cars). The other 2 houses are moving.
Afraid to walk on Austin Ave. after dark.
From smontano: They curse and scream at each other when houses are clustered. What we witness on the porches of Austin Ave. Video cameras show the actual happenings.
Spiro Sallata: It’s not about labeling those in recovery, it’s about protecting the rights and investments of others
Lisa: When we purchased our homes, we chose the area we wanted to live in. I feel like the sober living home took over my neighborhood and I have now joined their community. The North Beach Community needs to meet and discuss further actions after this meeting.
Jennifer Hansen: None of these houses make any money, they’re non-profit. We have a lot of expenses, house maintenance, staff, insurance, etc. We raise money to cover shortfall through fundraising. Residents pay $180 per week.
Emily Shore: Ventnor has taken away so many parking spaces that it’s difficult to find street parking near 5000 Boardwalk. Three sober houses on Austin can conceivably have 15 cars.
Linda Magarick: You certainly don’t need a BEACH BLOCK home for sober living.
STACY from Northbeach Assn supports the mission of sober living homes in Ventnor. 12 yrs of working to change NOBE into premium neighborhood. That progress is at risk of being erased. Changes the very nature of our neighborhood. Perception becomes reality. Does NOBE want to be known as the center of social services?
Many more sober homes in Ventnor? More than 25. Rogue sober homes? Well run homes are sullied by poorly run ones.
Ventnor City can’t issue CO’s. That problematic rule started a few years ago.
Rooming homes are not permitted in Ventnor.
Sober Living Home Capital of the East Coast.
Landgraf not giving up. Weed out bad apples. By law, we can’t limit the number of homes, or affect the radius (buffer) between each home.
Will Assemblyman Mazzeo help?
Edwina Hansen spoke during public comment.
NJ not in compliance with federal law? Homes like these should be properly credentialed.
From smontano: As General Manager of 5000 Boardwalk, I would like to explain concerns of 5000 Boardwalk. I was a board member for 4 years of Cape Assist, the Coalition Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse located in Cape May County. I engaged in providing alcohol and drug counseling on a volunteer basis. I understand the need for these houses and support them. Our concern is the behavior of residents.
The Austin Ave houses, because they’re clustered, are not exhibiting proper behavior and character.
Perhaps we should call Jennifer every time there are behavioral and noise issues. That is not out of meanness, but out of response to her statement that she gets very few calls concerning issues at the houses. Perhaps that would help her understand and control the houses better.