Supervisor Wagner Spearheads Community Effort to Rein-in Abusive Group Homes

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D O N A L D   P.   W A G N E R

Supervisor, Third District


For Immediate Release

Date: January 28, 2020

Contact: Rachel Lurya

(714) 334-5368


Supervisor Wagner Spearheads Community Effort to Rein-in Abusive Group Homes

(Santa Ana, Calif.) January 28 — The County now requires a 1000-foot buffer between sober living operators; the item brought forward by Supervisor Donald P. Wagner passed unanimously at the Board of Supervisors meeting today.

The ordinance tightens permit requirements for group homes, including sober living homes with six or fewer occupants to have a 24-hour on-site manager, among other mandates. Additionally, sober living homes now may not operate within 1,000 feet of each other nor of any other State-licensed recovery residence.

“The separation makes sense in my district’s more rural, unincorporated areas. I thank my staff and County counsel who worked swiftly with our community to address this problem,” said Supervisor Don Wagner. “By tightening the laws on abusive sober living homes, I’m doing everything in my power to advocate on a quality of life issue that matters to the constituents I’m privileged to represent.”

In September 2019, Supervisor Wagner led the Board to unanimously pass the County-wide ordinance tightened today, including requiring group home operators to apply for a permit and to enforce “good neighbor” policies.

Unincorporated County areas have seen a proliferation of sober living and group homes in residential neighborhoods. Many such houses do not provide in-home treatment and are not regulated by the State of California.

“The amended ordinance balances our ethical duty to help the men and women in these treatment programs to get their lives back in order, while also protecting the safety of our neighborhoods,” Wagner added. “As Supervisor, my efforts to curtail an over-concentration of group homes help secure the peaceful nature of our family-friendly neighborhoods.”

Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel thanked Supervisor Wagner for creating a County-wide model that will serve local jurisdictions facing the explosive growth of abusive sober living homes.

If you have any concerns about group homes increasing in your area, please call County code enforcement at 714-667-8850.


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