PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — News 13 has been following the story about a sober living home opening in a Panama City neighborhood. In our past three stories, we were unable to get a comment from Oxford House Inc. who is in charge of this home.
Now after seeing the response from residents representatives from the Oxford House said the residents on W. Eighth Street in Panama City should give their new neighbors a chance.
Steven Polin from Oxford House Inc. said this organization has great faith in the people trying to put their lives back together and one day be able to live independently.
He said all their houses are located in single-family neighborhoods like the Garden Club area where the controversial house is located.
Oxford House does rent these homes, however, the tenants are responsible for paying their share of common household expenses.
Tuesday, the Panama City residents that live in the area voiced their concerns about their new neighbors to the city commission. They said this is a family neighborhood and they are worried about the safety of their children, property values, and the possible disturbances to their everyday life.
According to the Oxford House website, this particular sober living home can house up to nine women recovering from addiction and their children.
The city responded by ensuring the safety of all residents is their top priority and they will be keeping a close eye on the property. The city is also checking to see if the home is breaking city code.
Polin released a statement on behalf of Oxford House Inc. saying:
“What is required is patience and tolerance and if everyone is willing to give the Oxford House residents a chance they will be pleasantly surprised at how good of citizens the residents are and how well they will fit into the neighborhood.”
Polin said it is a house full of tax-paying residents like everyone else.
He also said that Oxford House has received a business license letter from the City of Panama City. Their response was they are not a business, they are a single-family dwelling.