query: landlord-tenant drug control

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Fri Sep 28 09:13:44 CDT 2001

[ed:  thanks to Paul and Dave for responses to Mike's query.]

From: Paul Gowder <pgowder at yahoo.com>

Mike: I caution you to be VERY CAREFUL in this area.  Both 
to avoid trampling on tenant rights and to avoid a political 
mess you can't afford.  There have been many, many, many 
abuses in the names of "getting drugs out of public housing." --
 starting with random searches (they've done this in Chicago, I 
believe), "one strike and you're out" policies, eviction of 
mothers for the acts of their children -- you name it.  Really, 
the only strategy that I'd advocate in a situation like that is the 
warm fuzzy kind -- public education, neighbors being 
encouraged to look out for other people at risk, availability of 
free counseling and treatment programs (sounds like you're 
already on the ball with that one), and the like.  

Good luck.


From: CHELFERT at aol.com

Mike and other COMM-ORGans,

It sounds like the management is doing a lot to both reduce 
the demand and prevent the supply from getting there. I've 
worked in similar situations, without much success. The main 
reason being that if you specialize in renting to people who 
drugs or are at higher risk of using drugs, the demand for 
drugs is going to be high. 

In one case, tenants wanted a patrolling secourity guard and 
felt that this would be the most effective control of the supply 
side, but management couldn't afford it, or said they couldn't. 
If they haven't already, they might want to hire a uniformed 
guard to do rounds, not just stay in the office.

Bottom line, though - it's going to be next to impossible to 
eliminate the demand for drugs, even with tons of security and 
services, if your tenants are exclusively homeless or people 
with "special needs", especially if one of the special needs is 
substance use. I've worked a lot with formerly homeless 
people in SROs, and I don't know of a single program that has 
successfully eliminated drug use, even in so-called "clean and 
sober" buildings. Good luck.

Dave Chelsea-Seifert

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