DeKalb County staff recommends against house purchase

SYCAMORE – A proposed sober home for DeKalb County’s Drug and DUI Court is not off the table, but it won’t be housed at 303 E. Exchange St.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the DeKalb County Board’s Law and Justice Committee, Chairwoman Julia Fullerton, R-DeKalb, read a recommendation from Administrator Gary Hanson to withdraw the resolution to purchase the house. The meeting continued with a presentation by drug court Judge Robbin Stuckert, drug court administrator Marilyn Stromborg and representatives of the Will County Drug and DUI Court, which oversees two sober homes.

Stuckert began with a discussion of the structured, tightly-monitored environment for the men accepted into the home.

“Residency is limited to DeKalb County participants who already have a significant amount of sobriety, and have demonstrated a commitment to their recovery,” Stuckert said.

She provided handouts that contained a laundry list of house rules, which require the residents must be employed and pay rent, they have a curfew and daily drug testing, among others.

Speaking about the sober homes in Will County were Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes and administrator Julie McCabe-Sterr.

“The more we learn about drug and alcohol addiction, the less fear we have,” Policandriotes said. “The same people who fought the first house came back the second time to tell us what great neighbors they were.”

Many of the neighbors attended to protest the proposed location of the sober home, but their protest was based on the county’s 100-year plan.

“A lot of us came here ignorant of the program,” said Kevin Mathey, an Exchange Street resident. “My main issue was crossing Walnut Street. I’m not opposed to the program.”

After the committee and neighbors all had an opportunity to speak, Stuckert invited audience members currently in the drug court program to the front of the room.

“I want you to see they are people just like you,” Stuckert said of the 13 men and women who came forward.

Stuckert said she hoped the presentation changed some minds about the program.

“We won’t ever persuade everyone this is the right thing to do, but I hope we were able to alleviate some concerns,” Stuckert said.