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By Kevin Lewis, Capistrano Beach
My wife, son and I are longtime south Orange County residents, and for the last four years we have lived in Capistrano Beach. I’m as tired as anyone with the emergence of so many sober living homes in San Clemente and Dana Point, but on Friday, Dec. 4, my tolerance hit its max, and my involvement in ridding them from my neighborhood is going to dramatically increase.
About eight months ago, a woman by the name of Grace bought the home across the street from me, and immediately rented it to Sanctuary House Recovery, which is now running a sober living home in the house Grace owns. We are so disappointed as homeowners and parents to know that this “home” is directly across the street from ours. Sanctuary is running a business; this is not a home.
On Friday, Dec. 5, my wife and I went to a friend’s house for a holiday party and left behind our 23-month-old son with our 27-year-old babysitter, Haley. Right before 8 p.m., Haley was upstairs in our son’s room putting him to sleep. She heard a knock on our door and our dog started to bark for approximately five minutes. Normally our dog stops barking after a minute or two, but he kept barking quite aggressively. The barking then prevented our son from being able to go to sleep, so Haley decided to pick him up and go see what was wrong. As she left the bedroom, she stood at the top of our staircase, looked down the stairs, and there standing in my living room was a highly intoxicated girl with blue hair. Haley didn’t know if we knew her, so she kindly asked what this girl was doing in our home. The girl started yelling at Haley that she needed to charge her cellphone.
Haley, with our son still in hand, told her to leave immediately and the owners of the home would be back at any minute. The girl didn’t know how to leave and she started to walk towards our shared side fence to get to the neighbors’ house. This was all happening right in front of my son, who the next day was telling us how “the dog was barking and really mad” when we asked him if he had fun with Haley.
The intruder left after about four to five minutes and proceeded to go up our street to hassle more neighbors in need of a phone charge.
We filed a police report that night and contacted the manager of the home the following day, who then confirmed that it was a girl from his house who “snuck out” after her dad dropped her off at 6:45 p.m.
By Monday morning, the operators of the facility were claiming they had no recollection of any girl with blue hair having checked into their facility on Friday night and denied knowledge of the incident in my home, effectively lying to the police.
I have tried to be OK with the constant cigarette smoke, cussing and generally unappealing aspects of living next to a bunch of drug/alcohol-addicted teenagers, but at this point, I have to get to the bottom of why this is allowed.
Why does Capo Beach, Dana Point, and San Clemente want this present in our neighborhoods? I get that this is state run, allowed and supposedly permissible, but I think raising the awareness of the problem associated with these homes is exactly what we need to do to start getting this eradicated.