By Linda Sutter

Triplicate Editor Robin Fornoff would have the typical Triplicate reader digest the Oxford House for women as a bargain. Maybe it is maybe it isn’t. What was left out of the equation are some vitally important facts and questions.

Since an attack was on me I am here to explain the rest of the story. Anyone can open a recovery house such as the Oxford Sequoia, including companies and businesses that know nothing about the drug and alcohol treatment field. No training is mandated. No background checks are compulsory. No government oversight is required. Recovery house rules vary — as does the enforcement of those rules.

My concerns are reasonable and include the following:

Women who do not have children can have their boyfriends stay the night up to three nights a week, according to the Oxford House Rules #35.

According to the rules set by the original Oxford Housing in Maryland, there can be no more than two people per room and up to 10 people per house. If that is the case who is supposed to get bumped out of their room at night for boyfriend to spend the night or does everyone share the same room? Where are the children at when sexual encounters are occurring? How are the bathrooms shared between rooms?

Question: who monitors what type of men are allowed to come into the Oxford House for women? Are they former drug and alcohol abusers? Are they parolees? Do they behave inappropriately around other people’s children? Are they undiscovered child molesters. We’ve had a few of those unexpectedly show up in our county. (Chris) Renner is a good example and more recently the (Nolan) Bruder case. What if people like that were let in this entirely unmonitored Oxford house?

Finally, the Oxford house is self-sufficient. But not here. The director of social services wants to willy nilly the money she is given and forward the Oxford House $26,000.00. When a new Oxford house opens the most they can receive from any community to get it started is $4,000 which is paid back.

Gene McVae does not answer any of the hard questions on what services he is providing to the county that needs $26,000- $40,000. (DHHS DIrector) Heather Snow awarded $13,5000 thousand to the men’s Oxford house last year and reported only $7,000 was used. She never stated where the rest of the money went.

Finally, Fornoff can bash this writer all he wants in an unrelated issue in order to plead their case, however, the bottom line is this. The Oxford house is supposed to be self-dependent, The Oxford house has loose rules which is an accident waiting to happen, and the Oxford House is getting funded by taxpayer dollars when it advocates it does not take public money.

This is an atrocity when there is no supervision to monitor these women and their daily activities. Supervisors (Chris) Howard, (Lori) Cowan, and (Gerry) Hemmingson will give this money away without a blink of an eye. Without any consideration of the severity and viability of issues facing this rehabilitation house.

Linda Sutter lives in Crescent City.

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