Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – August 13, 2019 –

I am somewhat stunned by the lack of understanding by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director, Heather Snow, as she has once again got to stick her nose in something
that shouldn’t be any of her business.  Most of us have no doubt long forgotten last year’s controversy over the original funding of our local Oxford House by DHHS. Unfortunately, Director Snow either hasn’t educated herself during the course of the past year with the contents of
the Oxford House Charter, or feels she knows better than those that have developed the Oxford House platform which has been much more successful  in houses that adhere to that Charter than government funded houses. I fail to understand just how Ms. Busybody Snow can fail to acquaint
herself with the Charter of the Oxford House which clearly states that the residents of said house shall NOT accept outside funding from any GOVERNMENT agency, as it leads to the kind of dependency that Oxford Houses exclude from their programs.  The Houses are meant to be
independently funded by the members of the house themselves in order to foster  the necessary skills to remain so once the member has successfully completed a treatment program, is able to leave the house, and become totally self sustaining.

Director Snow has before the Board of Supervisors today, August 13th, on the consent agenda, in an effort to avoid public scrutiny no doubt, the renewal of $15,000 in public money  to be used for “unspecified services” to the DHHS by Oxford House members when there are NO
“UNSPECIFIED SERVICES” THAT OXFORD HOUSE MEMBERS ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM.  This is nothing but a blatant attempt by Director Snow to interfere with the proper operation of an Oxford House and make it into an Oxford House in name only.  The whole point of Oxford Houses and their chartered structure is to eliminate as much dependence as possible
to the point that members can shed past issues in their lives and return to being successful members of society.  While it is unlikely that Supervisors Cowan, Hemmingsen, and Howard can wrap their collective minds around the concepts found within the Oxford House charter, it was a successful way of helping those that lived within that Charter. Much more so than what will result if Director Snow is allowed to break down the system with her form of financial pandering.  THIS IS WRONG IN SO
MANY WAYS.  The Board of Supervisors should be the grown ups in the house and should not let this happen to the local Oxford House.

There are many people in this local community that understand what dependence has wrought through out the United States in the past seventy or so years with climbing destruction of so many lives by what seems like socially conscious programs funded by federal and state dollars.
Tax dollars, that make the problems worse.  While it may seem like a small thing to do, perhaps attending Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting to protest yet another travesty cloaked in the form of the benign, would be a way of breaking the bonds of dependency for the residents of our local Oxford House.

8 thoughts on “Another $15,000 Hand-out to Oxford House?”
  1. Well Well Well, another Oxford house to house criminals and addicts. is that the best we can do Del Norte County? I happen to listen to one of those resident addicts in court one day. she only had to work 15 hours a week. Why does the county want to enable these people more? Clearly, if they can’t hold down a 40 hour a week job and only required to work 15 hours to pay their rent our county is not doing any one of these people a favor. So when you fill a county full of drug addicts and alcoholics and put them in Oxford Houses along with their children, then add the blighted buildings, roads in disrepair, and trash on any given street, this is Del Norte County. and since there are people moving here, mostly liberals who don’t clean their houses, which will add to the trash that already exist maybe we should change the name of our county to Solid Waste.

  2. Hey Tony Tony didn’t quite understand the shot you took about keeping people away from Rogers house ! You must know something that the general public is not privy to??

  3. I don’t think you know anything about recovery, Sam. In AA and NA, they give you love and priceless resources in advance, until you can love yourself again. Addicts need to take responsibility for addiction to overcome it, however, in my actual experience, these people need love and care until they can do it for themselves again. If it came down to financial responsibility before sobriety, only rich kids would get sober. Glad that there is a program to help keep people away from Roger’s house, but Roger voted against it. I did not see too many people in recovery that looked homeless.

    1. Tony, I’m not sure what your point is? All I said was that in order to turn your life around it is important to shed dependency, period. How you do it is up to the individual. Having DHHS pay your rent is dependency. As far as being financially capable, that is why “real” Oxford Houses have their members work to pay their way. It doesn’t have much to do with people being wealthy. Skin in the game. The monetary contribution by each member of the house is normally quite modest. As far as AA and NA, they are also components of a “real” Oxford House, please read their Charter.
      As far as recovery, it comes in many forms, from many different issues in an individual’s life. I have seldom seen someone truly recover from anything when someone or something does it for them. Even you have acknowledged in your comment that the individual “needs to take responsibility …. to overcome it “. Love and care are support, not dependency. DHHS paying rent is dependency.
      I get it, you don’t think much of Roger Gitlin, get over it. Roger simply voted not to use tax dollars to create more dependency for people already struggling with their own dependency, not to in any way do away with the local Oxford Houses.
      Oxford Houses that do not follow the charter are far more likely to crash and burn, that is all that I am saying. In some cases it was pretty ugly. I don’t need to know about recovery in this case, because more than a few Oxford Houses in name only have done precisely that, crash and burn.
      That is exactly why DHHS, Supervisors Cowan, Howard, and Hemmingsen need to butt out and leave the local Oxford Houses alone…
      One further point, it is some what important to know just how Oxford Houses came into being and some of its history up to the present to gain an understanding of just why, what the County is doing is such a travasty.

  4. I pulled the item from the Consent Agenda
    (rubber stamp approval). When I asked Ms.Snow how the $15,000 would be utilized, she responded with out pause: ” Rent subsidies.” There has to be some skin in the game for those who hope to turn their lives around. The estimated rent is about $400 per month.I take issue that this modest rent is supplemented by the State. This latest ” give away” marks the third State-supported Oxford House in Crescent City, all within a one-half square mile of one another. How many more Oxford Houses are needed before a small community like Crescent City is re-defined? I voted NO and and was joined by Supervisor Bob Berkowitz. Cowan, Hemmingsen and Howard votes yes. Item was passed 3-2.
    Cowan’s relationship with this new purchase is unknown but she earned a Realtor commission on the Lauf St Oxford house representing the buyer.

    1. The Lauff Street house was the home of Ray and Roberta Young of Glen’s Bakery. It is sad to drive by that house as well as the still closed Glen’s Bakery. It was an institution.

  5. The history of Del Norte County DHHS has shown us that all too often the “rules” do not seem to apply to them. This is just another example.

  6. A quick correction to the article above. It seems that the $15,000 requested by DHHS’s director, Heather Snow, was in fact not a renewal of rent subsidies for an existing Oxford House, a big no-no for Oxford Houses, but rent subsidies for yet another Oxford House in name only. This sad travesty was approved by none other than Supervisors Cowan, Howard, and Hemmingsen. No real surprise there. These three Supervisors never seen to understand that government tax dollars spent do not always equate to a benifice for the recipients. They will never learn, nor will Director Snow.
    I am well aware that some in this community do not understand why the Oxford House charters specifically exclude tax dollars from being injected into their model. It is a fairly simple concept to grasp. Dependency which does not allow for a resolution by being independent from dependency of any form is a difficult process to over come. When someone who has been dependant on say, alcohol, tries to over come said addiction, in order to truly succeed, any other form of dependency should not be allowed to exist in that person’s life. DHHS’s fumbling attempts to help with rent assistance make learning life skills all that much harder. Precisely why REAL Oxford Houses that adhere to the charter are considerably more successful than what DHHS is doing here.
    How many Heather Snow Houses are going to populate Del Norte County before enough is enough?

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