Fred Way, the last speaker to visit our class, is the executive director of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences – an organization that monitors recovery and residential support services provided in Pennsylvania. Way is involved with the approval, implementation and maintenance of recovery housing in Philadelphia. He detailed the process of officially opening a recovery house, which has steps like obtaining a business privilege license, getting the property properly zoned and detailing a living plan for residents.
Way’s presentation and discussion really interested me, mainly because I didn’t realize there was a bureautic process for getting recovery housing approved before. When I hear conversations about recovery housing, it’s often focused on the “Not in My Backyard” ideology that people follow, not the safe, clean housing organizations like Way’s mandate. Also, some of the statistics Way mentioned stood out to me, like the fact that there are only 425 beds paid for 90 days in this city. Also, the 19124 ZIP code has the most recovery housing – which is good for people who are addicted living in the Frankfort/Kensington area. This could also mean that people living in other parts of the city where there is zero recovery housing, like Chestnut Hill, are underserved and are unsure of what resources to look for.
Housing is a civil rights issue, Way said, and Philadelphia’s current allocation of resources may be obstructing that right from people.