DIXON – The city will be hosting a town hall Tuesday with the goal of alleviating concerns from some residents about a proposed sober living facility on East Fellows Street.
Gaylloyd “Gerry” Lott Jr., executive director of nonprofit organization Sauk Valley Voices of Recovery and trustee of the 403 E. Fellows Street Land Trust, bought the home in central Dixon in November looking to create a sober living home for up to 11 men recovering from substance abuse disorder, and two staff members.
A few months ago, Sauk Valley Voices of Recovery withdrew its petition to have the property designated a “lodging house” for the purpose of opening a sober living facility after finding out that a sober home wouldn’t fit into the city’s current zoning categories.
A sober living home is one in which abusers who have completed rehab live for a time, getting treatment and supporting one another while they attend school, find jobs and work on their recovery. It’s a way to keep them from returning to their previous environments, where they used, had friends who used, and likely don’t have the services and support needed to maintain their sobriety.
Creating more sober homes has been a goal of area substance abuse treatment providers for many years in the Sauk Valley, especially after a rise in local deaths during the opioid epidemic.
The Dixon City Council gave the green light in May to hire outside counsel to look into new zoning that would work for the project. There were also plans to schedule a town hall on sober houses and recovery homes.
The town hall will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Loveland Community House and Museum featuring a panel of experts, City Manager Danny Langloss said Monday.
A local neighborhood group formed earlier this year to oppose having a sober living home in a residential area.
Langloss said there has been a mix of misinformation from residents and other concerns, and the hope is that the town hall will educate community members and give a forum to ask questions.
The Sinnissippi Recovery Home at 922 W. Washington Ave., a former Kreider Services group home, has been a sober living house for up to 10 men since May 30, 2018. It, too, is not zoned correctly and will need to have different zoning once approved by the council.
No action will be taken at the town hall. It will be more of a listening session, Langloss said.