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VALLEY FOCUS | Mission Hills

Addiction Recovery Centers Opposed

July 03, 1998|TOM SCHULTZ

Residents of Amboy Avenue--which forms the border between the city of San Fernando and the neighborhood of Mission Hills in Los Angeles--are upset that two new homes for recovering drug and alcohol addicts have opened on their street.

"The community here does not want them here," said Sandra Sotelo, who lives eight houses away from the new recovery centers.

Sotelo said that, like herself, other residents "are very unhappy with this center coming in because [center administrators] can't give us any guarantee there will be no trouble."

Residents opposed to recovering addicts occupying the houses, which are at 11415 and 11417 Amboy Ave., have started a petition drive in the hope that it might force the new tenants off the block, Sotelo said.

"We've got 274 signatures just from Brand Boulevard to Workman Street and then from O'Melveny Street to Laurel Canyon," Sotelo said.

Michael Bresnahan, founder and director of the nonprofit Shepherd's Recovery, said the organization's new homes are operating within the law. He said the three recovering addicts and the one staff member who currently live there are sober, hard-working people trying to overcome their troubles, not upset the neighborhood.

"I'm really providing a service for the community," said Bresnahan. "Somehow these people don't understand this. This is the first time this has ever happened. I didn't realize the lack of compassion."

Bresnahan, an ordained minister and former addict, said he leased the Amboy Avenue homes after the landlord at his original facility in Sylmar announced she was selling that house. As it turned out, the landlord never sold the house, so Bresnahan said he decided to expand.

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