Council delays action on home for recovering addicts

168 Lincoln Avenue, Syracuse

The Syracuse Common Council has delayed action on a plan to establish a controversial home for recovering addicts on the city's west side. A special permit for the parking lot at 168 Lincoln Avenue was tabled on Monday.

Syracuse United Neighbors opposes the proposed facility. SUN Spokesperson Salendria Mabrey calls it a "drug house" which would attract drug activity to the neighborhood. Hilda Harrison, also a SUN member, says there are seven existing "treatment and care" facilities in that part of the city and residents don't want another. Harrison says most of the homes on Lincoln Avenue are single family.

Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare is lobbying the Council to approve the plan. President and CEO Jeremy Klemansky says members of SUN have a "misunderstanding" of the facility which would provide housing for recovering drug addicts. Klemansky says such facilities actually deter drug activity and would be an asset to the neighborhood.

Klemansky points to a similar facility on Green Street that has been operating as a residential center for 50 years. One resident, who requested anonymity, says the facility does not attract crime. The recovering crack addict says it is helping him get his life back.

Michael DeSalvo, who also lives on Green Street, has written a letter of support for the proposed facility on Lincoln Avenue. DeSalvo says Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare "runs a tight ship." He says the residential facility has "added to the diversity and stability of our area."

Klemansky says recovering addicts are a "protected class" and if the city blocks the residential facility, it could be "in violation of the Fair Housing Act."