Public Comments for: HB277 - Recovery residences; disclosure to potential residents that residence is certified.
Last Name: Walter Organization: Oxford House - Kyber Locality: Lynchburg

My name is Dominic, and I am currently a member at an Oxford house in Lynchburg. I just wanted to take the time to email you, and thank you for changing the language in the bill which allows us to continue to function as an autonomous recovery residence. Everyone in our house and in our chapter are overwhelmingly grateful for your support.

Last Name: Patricia Godsey Locality: Midlothian

Hello, I would like to add my support to HB 277. All recovery houses should be certified. However, NARR level 1 and 2 houses should not be allowed to diagnose or treat mental illness. Peer support has a 72hr certification class. A counselor has a masters degree. Trauma, schizophrenia etc. can not be treated by a peer support person. Also, there needs to be a separate independent entity to handle any grievance. The owners of the recovery houses are the ones who own VARR. This could be intimidating for a person in recovery to report a problem.

Last Name: Richardson Locality: Newport News

I am reading the comments and see that this is a very emotional issue for many because they have been personally affected. I am the loved one of someone who struggled with these disease for many many years. I use the word DISEASE because I think it is very important to understand that this is a chronic illness that can and does kill. And with that being said I used to think that my loved one needed to hit rock bottom but I know that that rock bottom for some is DEATH. My loved one lived in an Oxford House and the issue I have with Oxford is that they can kick you out any time of day or night with no referrals, they can refuse to allow you to take Suboxone or Methadone or Vivitrol, and as far as I know they don't have Narcan. They also don't have trained staff. From what I can tell this bill won't stop Oxford Houses from operating, it will just prevent them from being accredited. How can the state, in good conscience, accredit places that don't allow people to take medicine for their disease? How can the state accredit places that don't have anyone trained to administer Narcan in case of an overdose? How can the state accredit places that will kick you out with no referral? Oxford Houses are great for SOME, they may work for SOME, but I would feel safer knowing that my loved one is in a place that has Narcan, that will allow him to take Suboxone (and will supervise him taking it and keep it locked up), that will get him a referral to a different place if he needs it. Again, no offense to Oxford but if something is accredited it needs to have minimum standards and Oxford Houses just don't.

Last Name: Nolde Organization: SAGE RVA, LLC Locality: Richmond City

Not all recovery residences are created equal. Certification is a process that ensures standards of quality regarding reporting, safety, and evidence-based methods are met -- and not all recovery residences meet these standards, thus not all are certified. Persons in early recovery need the supports to choose the best spaces for beginning their recovery journey -- requiring recovery residences to disclose their certification status is one way of providing those supports. Persons in recovery need to be able to trust the organizations that they are considering to have their best interests at heart. One way to engage that trust, build that trust, and start the transparency that leads to trust is for those residences to disclose their certification status, and for anyone referring to a potential residence to only be able to refer to certified residences. Quality recovery programs lead to recovered persons. And while recovery is a lifelong journey, we know through data and anecdote that the evidence-based route promoted by certified recovery residences leads to longer lengths of time in active recovery. In addition, adjusting zoning requirements to ease the establishment of recovery residences, and reporting of those residences to a statewide agency who then makes their certification and support-level information publicly available, are additional ways to ease the creation of successful recovery outcomes. Substance use disorder is a by-product of many factors -- including societal pressures, norms, and exploitation. This bill begins the necessary and just work of recognizing that persons in recovery are due our respect like any other member of society, and deserve to know that the spaces the inhabit during the most difficult times in their recovery journey are spaces that are safe, and have their best interests and future outcomes at heart. Harm reduction is more than simply what we have defined it as medically -- it is also the promotion of available and safe spaces to seek help, be vulnerable, and grow in a person's recovery journey. This bill sets out a path to do just that. I hope the individuals assembled will support this bill, and in doing so support the persons in recovery seeking help in their communities now.

Last Name: Baker Organization: Starfish and wellness Locality: Richmond

I support yes

Last Name: Greenspan Organization: Starfish Recovery and Wellness Locality: Richmond

My name is Daniel Greenspan. I have been in active addiction for four years and in recovery in for four months. In those four months I have learned more about myself and my resilience than I thought possible. I never thought there would be a life for me beyond drugs. In supporting this bill, I wish to carry a message of hope and possibility to those still lost. A VARR certified house has saved my life, and has the potential to save so many more. A certification provides a measure of accountability that many recovery houses lack.

Last Name: Wysocki Locality: N Chesterfld

I support this for many reasons but the one I would highlight is if any of my kids had to go to a recovery house I would want them somewhere that has some type of accreditation and staff oversight. If that does not exist at the recovery house then I as a parent would want to know.

Last Name: Gross Organization: Meridians Recovery Inc Locality: Sterling

My name is Jim Gross, I am the founder and senior Director at Meridians Recovery in Sterling Virginia. We opened July of 2011 and have had close to 500 clients come through our doors. We have worked with the same agencies alongside Oxford House. My expert opinion on this bill is that it in no way serves the recovery community nor the counties, CSB's nor the entire state of Virginia. Any documented instances of fraud, neglect, and abuse that I know of has been in other states such as Florida. The sole purpose of this bill that I can tell from skimming the bill, is that its intent and outcome will line the pocks of David Rook and John Schinholzer. The long term damage will effectively eliminate 158 Oxford Houses which serve a much wider swath of Virginia that McShin and VARR are even capable of serving. This will inevitably put more addicts on the street committing crimes to support their habits and more alcoholics needlessly taking innocent lives on Virginias highways. This is John Shinholzer's doing with political clout by his lobbyist wife. When David Rook and his croanies tried to hustle Meridians Recovery to pay $800 to be certified for 1 year I told him we are a non-profit that loses money every year. It was not written into law so I was not about to help line David and John's pockets. I told them that this does not help recovery people get and stay clean. The only thing it would do is to help VARR, David Rook and John Schinholzer profit from others suffering. Last time I checked everyone of McShins's board members were stake holders in that they all owned a recovery house, therefore profiting from McShin's clients. John and David have always been in this for the money. The successful life changing of someone in early recovery is secondary to them. John even went after his brother when he opened a recovery house in Richmond that competed with McShin. John's ideology comes from his military training and entails concurring the field and hoard all the pieces. This is such terrible situation that they are coming after a pure non-profit that exemplifies the singleness of purpose that Oxford house does. Meridians Recovery made a small profit 1 year out of 11. That money was used to pay 1 months bills forward. Good thing too as we experienced a barren period for months afterward. Oxford Houses operate on a par to break even. There is no profit. Bearing my experience running an independent recovery house successfully for 11 years, I would not refer anyone to a recovery house other than Oxford House. I would venture to estimate over the years I have in fact referred at least 50 people to O.H. I feel it absolutely necessary to remind everyone, in the light of this foolish bill before the Virginia state legislature that without Oxford House there will be many people in our state back on the streets, committing crimes and destroying families, while John Shinholzer and David Rook line their pockets.

Last Name: Waterfield Locality: Virginia beach

Good morning, My name is Bonnie Waterfield and I am a mother of an Oxford House alumni. My daughter explained to me that this bill would remove the ability of Oxford Houses and any houses for recovery to operate without paying a bunch of money to a private entity and then additionally employing a worker to be a house manager for each house. This would take money away from the residents and change how these houses function. These tenants are not insurance paid but self pay for their stay and the structure it provides. Why do they need to pay this private group money in order to remain certified? They are certified under the present legislation. As a mother, I am appalled at this legislation. Why would we remove options for these people? My mother paid for my daughters move in fee and first two weeks equal expense share. The rest of our family including myself had reached our breaking point and were done with my daughter. While living at an Oxford house my daughter started showing so many positive changes and was able to reconnect with us and be with us for the care of my mother at the end of her life. Today I have my daughter back. She moved out of Oxford in 2018 and has stayed sober and I was comfortable giving her my grandchildren back. I have my daughter back now. If you remove these Oxford houses and other houses that don’t have a caretaker from being certified you will be removing a valuable resource for these people who use drugs and have problems with drinking. Other parents like me will never have their daughter or son back. That in my opinion is so damaging. My daughter now owns a home and pays taxes and takes care of her children. She would not have thrived in a different environment and we had tried. Please do this mom a favor and vote no on HB 277! Thank you !

Last Name: Shinabery Organization: Oxford House Locality: Clarke

My name is Christopher Shinabery and I have been an Oxford House Landlord since 2014 and I oppose HB277. I own homes in William D. Wiley's District 29, Joseph McNamara's District 8, and 2 homes in Sam Rasoul's District 11. I am a direct constituant of David LaRock District 33. Oxford House Inc. is a powerful, effective, and efficient organization that expands across the state. I have witnessed and am here to testify to the work that has been done. The Oxford House model is powerful to the person living in the home because it is a democratically self-run and self-supporting home in which the members hold positions of responsibility and hold each other accountable. Oxford House is effective. Oxford house has an 87.5% abstinence rate and its members are twice as likely to refrain from drugs and alcohol. The self governing/self-supporting components of the model is critical to the success of the program. Oxford house is efficient and extremely cost effective. There are over 150 Oxford houses across the state that provide housing for men, women, and women with children. I have 27 men and women that live in my homes. Even thought I am a small part of Oxford, I get to see the rewards on a daily/monthly/yearly basis as the members grow over time. The cost to the taxpayer is just over a dollar a day per bed. Amazing. Oxford House Inc serves it purpose across the state. Oxford House Inc. represents 75% of all recovery homes in Virginia. The decertification of Oxford House Inc would devastate the availability of recovery housing and would have a wide impact across the state to those who suffer from substance use disorders and their families. It would increase the financial burden of addiction on the state and increase recidivism rates. The removal OHI as a credentialing entity and require all certified recovery residences to be staffed should be removed or HB277 should be defeated. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Shinabery Organization: Oxford House Locality: clarke

Oxford House Land lord Since 2014 opposed to HB277.

Last Name: Morris Organization: Oxford Houses of Virgina Locality: Charlottesville

My name is Larry Morris, I am urging you to please oppose HB277 as it would lead to the decertifying and closing of all 158 Oxford Houses with over 1,300 recovery residence beds for men, women, and women with children, all across the state. Oxford House is an incredibly successful, evidence-based model for self-run, self-supporting recovery homes that has been saving thousands of lives in Virginia for 32 years. Without our statewide network of Oxford Houses, more Virginians will remain in addiction and die. Please oppose HB277!

Last Name: Tom Wright Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

Dear Chairperson and Members of House Subcommittee #2, I am writing today because I strongly oppose HB277. I currently rent six single family homes as Oxford Houses in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. I am the property manager for two others. I began renting to Oxford 16 years ago with my first rental property. Since then I have bought and renovated homes specifically for Oxford. I give this background because I believe in the offering that Oxford is to the recovery community. These houses are each autonomous and must operate independently while adhering to the basic tenants of Oxford. I find this to be beneficial to the individuals coming through the program for several reasons. They must learn to budget and manage money. They learn to dialogue with one another when issues arise. They also learn to work together as a unit to see that daily chores are completed, and house maintenance issues are resolved. The homes are set up so that the responsibilities are delegated to different members regularly. This gives opportunity for all to develop life skills that many are lacking simply because of addiction. They test members regularly and if someone is found to be using they are immediately made to leave. They do not tolerate any use of drugs or alcohol in their homes. They require members to attend AA, and NA meetings in order to live there. They require members to have jobs over to be actively searching for work. They are selective about where the homes are located so that there are bus routes or other easy access to a wide range of employment opportunities. Over the years my wife and I have had the privilege of helping dozens of members to move out on their own and forge ahead with their dreams and desires. We have done this because they work hard at recovery and sobriety and they frequently just need hand up to begin lives as productive citizens. Many of them continue to come back and help to educate new members and to counsel them. This bill would in effect shut down all Oxford Homes in Virginia. Currently Oxford House provides over 75% of all recovery residences in Virginia. While there are other recovery homes in Virginia they are primarily located in Richmond, leaving the rest of the state with no options except Oxford House. Losing the Oxford Homes spread throughout the state would leave thousands of people suffering with addiction with no options. Thank you for your time and consideration in reading this letter. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. Sincerely, Tom Wright tntproperties911@gmail.com 757-615-8486Tom Wright tntproperties911@gmail.com

Last Name: Linda Thimons Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

Good morning Chairperson and Members of the Committee – Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to address all of you and to briefly tell you my experience with Oxford House both personally and professionally. My name is Linda Thimons and I am a very grateful recovering alcoholic with 202 days sober as of today. Oxford House has had an enormous part to play in that. I’ve been struggling with addiction most of my adult life, secretly through much of it, despite having a successful career in the human services field. I’ve tried just about everything to get sober. I’ve gone to rehab 4 times. I’ve gone to detox even more. I’ve done a LOT of therapy. I’ve tried church. I’ve tried willpower. I’ve tried to move from place to place. I’ve tried hypnosis. And I’ve lived in sober living in Pennsylvania, where I’m from. And I WOULD get sober at times. But I couldn’t stay sober. And I always felt deep down that I wasn’t really done. That the chains of addiction were not gone. Until 202 days ago...when I moved into Oxford House Pembroke in Virginia Beach, VA, and started to really work the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is not an overstatement to say that coming into an Oxford House has changed my life. The model of Oxford House, being self-governing and self-run, has been unbelievably empowering and motivating. Being responsible for myself and to my housemates makes such an incredible difference in my recovery. Knowing that no one “above” me is directing me to do the right thing...but, rather, my housemates and I are making collective decisions daily to be more responsible and accountable...that is making more of a difference in my life than anything previously has. As a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia, and previously in Pennsylvania, I practiced as a substance use therapist for many years. I became very familiar with various sober living facilities and housing programs. Just like there are many paths to recovery, there are likely various ways to structure recovery housing. I can only speak to the effectiveness of the Oxford House model. As a professional, I witnessed a very high percentage of individuals achieve sustained sobriety in Oxford Houses. As a person in recovery, Oxford House has quite simply given me a new life. Please vote against this bill. Thank you for listening.

Last Name: David and Laura Koubsky Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

Dear Virginia Delegate After being made aware of HB277 currently under review, we took the time to research and read the bill. As parents of a child who has used the Oxford House recovery residencies in Virginia for several years, we would like to share our gratitude for their program with you. As parents we can tell you that there are very limited affordable treatment and housing options for people attempting to recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Imposing additional regulations and restrictions on existing recovery housing is not the answer to addressing a shortage of viable options for people in recovery. The Oxford House is a program our son has been involved with for many years and currently resides in an Oxford House in Williamsburg VA. Our son is involved with the Oxford program because they offer a local housing option with multiple locations. We found “certified” recovery residences to be extremely expensive, had no openings and were mostly located out of state. Oxford on the other hand offers an affordable, safe recovery resident option with multiple housing options available in local communities throughout Virginia. We believe that for the State of Virginia to require that “no health care provider or behavioral health service provider who receives public funds or state agency shall refer a person with substance abuse disorder to a recovery residence unless the recovery residence has been certified by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services” will be detrimental to people in recovery. It would be different if the market was full of affordable recovery treatment and housing options but it is not. Your bill would be better written if it directed health care advisors to provide people in recovery all available recovery and residential options that are both certified and uncertified in order to provide families with as many options as possible to help them through recovery. Please vote no for the current language presented in HB277. David and Laura Koubsky 4321 Lookout Road Virginia Beach, VA 23455

Last Name: T. Alper Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Fairfax

Dear Chairperson and the Members of House Subcommittee, As a resident of Virginia I am disappointed that the bill HB277 is being introduced for approval. Such a bill would enforce "profit" based recovery facilities and harm the operation of "not for profit organizations" like Oxford House International (OHI). As we all know that OHI is a nationwide non-profit organization that has been in existence for nearly 50 years, has more than 3,000 houses in operation in 44 states. In Virginia alone, there are more than 158 Oxford Houses providing excellent 1,300 recovery beds for men, women and women with children. To pass bills to diminish such well run organizations as OHI, which costs only $1.05 per bed per taxpayer, cannot be to the benefit of taxpayers and those that receive such services. THEREFORE, I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO VOTE NO TO HB277. Sincerely, T. Alper A Resident of Virginia 6903 Dillon Avenue, McLean, VA 22101

Last Name: Richard and Sallie Hudson Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Fairfax County, Charlottesville

For over 20 years we have been working with Oxford House to provide housing for the residents. Oxford House is an excellent organization that provides housing in a community setting which provides support, encouragement, and structure. Currently, we have 14 houses leased to Oxford House. Debbie Robinson, Senior Outreach Worker for Oxford House, who we have worked with many years, does an excellent job of overseeing the houses. We feel good about helping these people who are struggling and how Oxford House allows them to have a safe place to live within the community. As a group they behave responsibility and out the “group responsibility” individuals develop a new responsible lifestyle free of alcohol and drug use. Our houses help society and it feels good to help others less fortunate. In the past, we have sponsored summer picnics with a live band and barbeque. Each year it is great to receive Christmas cards signed by all the tenants in appreciation of living in our houses. For two years in the past, we attended the annual state conference where we received the Oxford House “Landlord of the Year” award. It has been a pleasure over these past years to support and provide housing for such a great organization as Oxford House. We do not support HB277 that would change how Oxford House operates and we support SB622. Sincerely, Richard and Sallie Hudson, Landlord Cacar Inc, owners

Last Name: Patricia Donohue Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Fairfax

To Concerned Delegates and Senators, I am opposed to the passage of HB277 entitling only Va. Association of Recovery Residences ( VARR) to run recovery houses. Oxford House has been an established group that has helped thousands of people to recover and live productive lives. My brother was one of these blessed individuals. It is a model of democracy, it is a self governing residence for over 4 decades. Oxford House represents 75% of all the recovery homes in Virginia and is present in 44 states. The Bill introduced by Delegate Coyner would remove Oxford House Inc of it’s credentialing entities, allowing only VARR (formed in 2011) to operate. VARR worked closely with Coyner in the drafting of this Bill without the input from the Oxford House Inc. ( suspicious) Please vote No on HB 277! Please vote Yes on SB 622! Thank for your time, Sister to a previous resident and landlord to an Oxford House Patricia Donohue

Last Name: Ilker Gunessever Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Reston

Dear Chairperson & Members of House Subcommittee #2, Counties, Cities & Towns: We were recently informed that there is legislation (House Bill 277) that could remove Oxford House Inc as a credentialing agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia. My family has been an advocate of Oxford House for over 30 years, and have seen the tremendous impact that the Oxford House has made in our communities to help individuals overcome their drug and alcohol dependencies in a supportive environment. Rather than passing legislation that would reduce it's effectiveness, Oxford House Inc should be recognized as the blueprint for helping individuals overcome their addictions in a residence setting and the state should further partner with Oxford House to set up more of these types of homes throughout the state. Thank you for your time and consideration, Sincerely, Ilker Gunessever, Landlord

Last Name: Mong Heng Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277 Locality: Falls Church

House Delegate, My name is Mong Heng. I am a landlord renting my house to the Oxford House group in Falls Church for many years. I have observed personally that the residents living there are well mannered, courteous, happy, organized and take good care of my property inside and outside very well because of Oxford House rules and policy. As a landlord, I like Oxford House and I oppose HB277. Sincerely, Mong Heng

Last Name: Bryan Blankenship Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Prince William

Hello my name is Bryan Blankenship a Marine Corps veteran, a FBI retiree, and a 10+ year landlord for Oxford House in Prince William County. All of those things I am proud of. As for Oxford House, over the past decade of my involvement, there have been over 20 women, both young and old, that resided in a four bedroom - four bathroom home I purchased. Several of them have expressed that the time with Oxford provided the opportunity to regain necessary structure and accountability which led to the independence they regained upon moving on. I am a wholehearted supporter in this program and as a VA constituent, request you support SB622 and not House Bill 277. Respectfully, Bryan

Last Name: Sabri BenKahla Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Arlington

Dear Chairperson and Members of the House, I wanted to write to express my support for the Oxford House and opposition to the bill known as HB277. I am a landlord who rents to Oxford house and have had nothing but positive experiences with them. Initially I heard of their program through a friend and wanted to help. After finding out what great tenants they were, how they helped those in recovery and how well the tenants took care of my property, I opened another of my properties to them. I think they do a great job and it would be a disservice to the Commonwealth to do anything that would jeopardize their efforts. Best regards, Sabri BenKahla (Landlord, Small Business Owner)

Last Name: Kevin Brim Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Fredericksburg

Dear Chairperson & Members of House Subcommittee #2, Counties, Cities & Towns: I wanted to ensure my voice is heard, I’m both a landlord and a person with family members who has benefitted from the long standing program the Oxford House organization provides both around the Country and too the local community. They give those who need a second chance to rehabilitate themselves back into society as productive citizens able to give back to the work force and their Communities. I support SB622

Last Name: Sara Morin Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

To whom it may concern, I am writing to you to explain the impact that Oxford House has for it's members, what it has done for me so far and what else I believe it can achieve for me. Oxford House has helped many people get away from living in toxic households, being homeless, to freeing up shelters. Individuals get positive support, a way to save money, they learn about principles, and the way to live a new productive, healthy life. I think it is important for you to understand that addiction is a disease. Each time I fall down and give into my disease I get stronger. I am so grateful I have had chances and my heart goes out to those who have not made it. It is important for me to stress that when I first moved into an Oxford house I had a lot going on in life besides just my addiction. I had just gone through a break-up of a relationship that was eight years long. I was battling my mental health and still was new to my mental health diagnosis. Earlier in the year 2021 I was diagnosed bi­polar, schizo effective, PTSD, anxiety, and major depression. The whole point of Oxford is for us to all be there for each other when we are struggling. When you move into an a house there is an application and interview process. It is up to you to be honest, open and tell the house what your relapse warning signs and triggers might be. This allows the house to help you if they notice anything. I have lived in this house for roughly five months. I have got to say my stay has been wonderful! I have been held accountable for my actions at our weekly house meeting. I have also been pulled aside by individuals when I have showed signs of relapsing. I have not relapsed in this house but being held accountable and confronted in a constructive manner has helped me fix my mistakes and pick myself up to work harder at my recovery. At our weekly house meetings, we also do a pill count on anyone that has any medications that could potentially be abused. I feel holding people accountable and keeping an eye on them to make sure they are taking their meds as prescribed is very important especially if someone is in early recovery. We do a feelings check weekly, it is important we check in and see where everyone is at in the house. It allows us to all get closer, discuss or ups and downs we have had during the week, it's a comfortable environment to ask the group for anyone who might be able to help with anything going on.

Last Name: Kristina Kelly Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

To Whom It May Concern, I am writing this letter to express how much Oxford House has benefitted me through my journey of recovery, and how much it means to me as a member of Coral House in Virginia Beach, VA. I have struggled with addiction most of my life. I come from a family of addicts. I believe I can and will break/beat the cycle of addiction. It will be something I work on for the rest of my life, and with that I will need so many tools along with a network to grow in my recovery. The girls I live with here are my family. Unfortunately, my blood family is deceased so if this home got taken from me, you would be taking my family from me along with so much more. Oxford gives me a safe affordable place to lay my head at night, which I call home. If that goes, you would be taking my stability and my safe place, which means you would be taking from my daughter with whom I am rebuilding a relationship. Oxford House is teaching me and also giving me accountability which for me is huge in my recovery. It is so very much such a blessing for me to have Oxford. It would be devastating to me and my life recovery if someone took this experience, this Oxford House Coral, from me.

Last Name: Christinia C Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

To Whom It May Concern, Oxford changes lives. I've seen it happen. We have all seen it happen. Every single person in my Oxford House that is a current or past member will attest to that. All of us came from bad places­homeless, drug addicted, bad living situations, institutions, etc.-to this amazing, safe place that helped us build ourselves up and have a support system with rules and structure and even a make-shift family since most of us pushed our blood families away in our active addiction. Oxford gave us a second chance. It gave us hope. And where there is hope there is life. Oxford saves lives and we need them and we are all so grateful for the chance to be a part of this place. Thank You, Oxford House Hera Virginia Beach, VA

Last Name: Whitney Dockery Organization: Oxford House (Opposed HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

To Whom It May Concern, I had struggled many years with addiction which led to jail, losing my career, my home, everything I owned and the most important thing to me in the world my 3 beautiful little girls. I had tried several times to get clean and it never ever worked for me. I finally hit my rock bottom as we addicts like to call it and I had finally had enough. I went to rehab for 60 days and was going to return back home in Tennessee until on my last 2 weeks there my counselor mentioned maybe I should try a sober living house called Oxford. I had no clue what that even meant and had never heard of that. I called around and got a hold of the house president at Coral and they set me up an interview over the phone that following Monday. They asked me interview questions and by the end of that night I got a call I was accepted. Since that day Oxford has changed my life, it has taught me another way to live, it has given me structure and accountability, it has taught me how to be a good a productive citizen, it has taught me growth not only with myself but with other people as well. It has taught me to face my problems head on while having a whole support system in my very home and within the Oxford community. Over my 2 years of being here I have gotten to be more involved with my recovery and within Oxford by holding house positions, being Chapter 2 Secretary for a year, and now being Ch.2 Treasurer and Sate Secretary. Those things may seem small but to me and others it everything. We are being trusted to do things no one would have ever trusted us to do before and most importantly being on these boards are not only helping me but they are allowing us to help others in need of finding a new way or helping members in the other houses that need us. If this would fall through it would be detrimental to not only Oxford house but to the people that are in them and the people trying to get in one. I can promise you and assure you we have protocols for all situations and rules that we follow on a daily basis. Every member signs them when they walk in the door and we go over them all the time. We do random drug screens, we watch for changes in behavior and anyone on any medications must keep them in a lock box at all times and we do random pill counts to keep them accountable. Please let us all be able to continue to provide the Oxford way and help the next struggling addict because it is saving lives every day. I can say without a doubt Oxford saved my life and it has brought me where I am today which is someone who has over 2 years clean, has a car now, a place to call home, a fulltime job, a family within Oxford and relationships rebuilt with my children who are most important. Thank you for your time, Whitney Dockery/Coral Member

Last Name: Missy Perkinss Organization: Oxford House (Opposed to HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

o Whom It May Concern, Oxford Houses saved my life. It's that simple. It gave me a safe place to go to recover and build myself back up. A place to learn how to live in society as a sober person with a group of like-minded peers who would be my support system and then my family. I have been a hard core heroin addict for over 20yrs. I've lived in the streets, in institutions and I've been to rehab. But I've never been able to stay sober. It never quite stuck. Then I found Oxford. The support and structure that it brought to my life was a game changer. I changed. I've been in Oxford for a couple of years now and am clean and sober and doing amazing. I participate in my Oxford Chapter and attend the State Meetings in Virginia. If we lose Oxford Houses we will lose lives. It's as simple as that. Thank You, Virginia Beach, Va. Missy Perkinss

Last Name: Woods Organization: Oxford House - Apple Blossom Locality: Winchester

My name is Lexi Woods, I am a current resident at Apple Blossom Oxford. I have been living here since September, and prior to moving I was unable to obtain any amount of clean time on my own. Living in Oxford has given me the opportunity to build a network of sober women that I can lean on for support. It has also given me a level of accountability that I wouldn't have living on my own, which I believe is extremely important in early sobriety. The structure provided by Oxford has given me a safe place for me to learn responsibility, focus on getting my life on track, and has taught me alot being an adult. Living in Oxford saved me from continuing down a path of self destruction and I am forever grateful for that. I hope that others after me get the same opportunity as I did. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277!!

Last Name: Wool Organization: Oxford House - Apple Blossom Locality: Winchester

My name is Kellen Wool, I currently live in Apple Blossom Oxford House. I am the newest member in this house and I am so lucky to have had this as an option. Without this oxford house to call my home I wouldn't be able to restart my life or to even give myself an actual chance at life. It has connected me with other women who have more sober time than I that have been able to guide me in this new venture. I can feel the change inciting in me as I'm moving forward with my life. I know for a fact that without the oxford house model I would have already relapsed and probably not be alive today to write this out. Without the Oxford house model I would be still alone in my fight for my life in a sea of billions. This model has given and still gives me the tools to continue to stay on this path. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277!

Last Name: Beckwith Organization: Oxford House - Apple Blossom Locality: Winchester

My name is Christy Beckwith, I currently live in Apple Blossom Oxford House. I have lived here for 2 years. Having this option available to me when I left rehab has saved my life. If this option hadn't been available I would have returned to using not long after completing rehab Oxford has given me a home where I was able to find out who I was sober and how fun life can be. It has also helped me build life skills and become a responsible person. The model works as I have seen it help addicts and alcoholics navigate the crucial next steps in recovery. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277!

Last Name: Clavijo Organization: Oxford House - Apple Blossom Locality: Winchester

My name is Laura Clavijo, I am a current resident of Apple blossom Oxford house. I have lived here for one year and I have 19 months clean. Having the opportunity to reside in Oxford has given me a built in network of women, it has given me a home where I resided in intensive treatment prior to moving here and before that I was homeless in Philadelphia. Living in Oxford has allowed me to build life skills and become a responsible adult. I feel Oxford is an extremely valuable asset to men and women in recovery and starting their lives over. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277

Last Name: Kaylor Organization: Oxford House Locality: Winchester

Hello, my name is Jacqui, my son owes his life to Oxford House. He was incarcerated many times in Winchester due to drug related charges. Constantly coming back to my husband and I's home. The last time he was incarcerated was June of 2017. Upon release he went into an Oxford House. Little did we know it would ultimately give us our family back. We learnt that is was peer driven and self supporting which seemed odd at first. Then we watched him start doing more than he had ever done before. I did some looking into what the Oxford Houses model was and realized that the peer driven aspect of it gives members an opportunity to grow in many different ways, as well as highlighting that using even once meant that you could no longer live there for a period of time. We do believe that the Oxford House model is one that works well and is a safe haven for anyone who struggles with substance use disorder. He is now just a little over four and a half years clean. In the many attempts before without the housing like Oxford House he never could get past the 90 day hump of sobriety. Now he is a functioning member of society which at one point did not feel like it would ever happen. We got our son back which is why I'm asking you to SAY NO TO HB277. It will negatively affect some recovery residences in the state of Virginia which will limit the help for people who need it.

Last Name: Hunt Organization: Mcshin foundation Locality: Henrico

My recovery house has been so good for my recovery because we all are united as one we recover together hold each other accountable,learn to live without using,learn how to have meaning and find our purpose, in our lives our house is a blessing!!!

Last Name: Whitney Organization: Oxford House (Opposed HB277) Locality: Virginia Beach

To Whom It May Concern, I had struggled many years with addiction which led to jail, losing my career, my home, everything I owned and the most important thing to me in the world my 3 beautiful little girls. I had tried several times to get clean and it never ever worked for me. I finally hit my rock bottom as we addicts like to call it and I had finally had enough. I went to rehab for 60 days and was going to return back home in Tennessee until on my last 2 weeks there my counselor mentioned maybe I should try a sober living house called Oxford. I had no clue what that even meant and had never heard of that. I called around and got a hold of the house president at Coral and they set me up an interview over the phone that following Monday. They asked me interview questions and by the end of that night I got a call I was accepted. Since that day Oxford has changed my life, it has taught me another way to live, it has given me structure and accountability, it has taught me how to be a good a productive citizen, it has taught me growth not only with myself but with other people as well. It has taught me to face my problems head on while having a whole support system in my very home and within the Oxford community. Over my 2 years of being here I have gotten to be more involved with my recovery and within Oxford by holding house positions, being Chapter 2 Secretary for a year, and now being Ch.2 Treasurer and Sate Secretary. Those things may seem small but to me and others it everything. We are being trusted to do things no one would have ever trusted us to do before and most importantly being on these boards are not only helping me but they are allowing us to help others in need of finding a new way or helping members in the other houses that need us. If this would fall through it would be detrimental to not only Oxford house but to the people that are in them and the people trying to get in one. I can promise you and assure you we have protocols for all situations and rules that we follow on a daily basis. Every member signs them when they walk in the door and we go over them all the time. We do random drug screens, we watch for changes in behavior and anyone on any medications must keep them in a lock box at all times and we do random pill counts to keep them accountable. Please let us all be able to continue to provide the Oxford way and help the next struggling addict because it is saving lives every day. I can say without a doubt Oxford saved my life and it has brought me where I am today which is someone who has over 2 years clean, has a car now, a place to call home, a fulltime job, a family within Oxford and relationships rebuilt with my children who are most important. Thank you for your time, Whitney Dockery/Coral Member

Last Name: Plaine Organization: Oxford House Brookland Park Locality: Richmond

Comments Document

Please see attached letter. Vote NO to HB277!

Last Name: John Organization: Oxford House, Inc. Locality: Prince William County

Good morning, Chairperson and Members of the Committee, My daughter lived in an Oxford House in Fairfax County for 2 years. When she first went into the Oxford Houses Recovery Home, I was uncertain if this would work because she told us the house had no supervision, just a lot of rules. I was surprised when I read the house rules and realized the consequences she would incur if she did not abide by the rules she signed. Even though some of the rules seemed harsh, I did research on Oxford Houses and found out they had been around for a very long time, that others involved in the field of addiction spoke highly of them, and that they had proven themselves as an organization that saves lives of those living with the disease of addiction. My entire family is grateful that Oxford Houses were an option for her. Tough love from us did not work and the family had exhausted all options to help her. She still was not welcomed to live in our home, which meant she would be homeless and on the streets in Fairfax County again. Even though by the time she moved into an Oxford House she had been 5 months clean, which she only obtained from going to treatment. It was her treatment center counselors that referred Oxford Houses to us. They also informed us of how many of their clients have moved in the houses in Northern Virginia and have stayed sober and turned their lives around. They also told us if she used, she would be put out of the house. My daughter drank and did drugs for 35 years and we had lost all hope that she would live much longer. As a family, we believed Oxford Houses was exactly what she needed. The peer support provided to her by house members, the house rules, and the recovery program requirements along with her having to follow the Oxford House model, worked miracles for her. This organization is the reason we have a daughter today, her siblings have a sister, her daughter has a mother and now she is a grandmother. Our family is whole again and we will be forever grateful. Today, almost 15 years later our loved one is still sober and is a very productive citizen giving back to all those in recovery and our community. I oppose HB277 and I hope you will to. Thank you, The Belotti Family

Last Name: Davis Organization: McShin Foundation Locality: Henrico

Hello, my name is Christina Davis and I want to be a voice heard speaking on behalf of how important it is to have recovery residents. I am a woman that is currently in a recovery residence and have gained my life back. I have been granted the opportunity to be a leader in my residence which means that I am a positive role model to other women in recovery. I have come through the McShin program and during that time I built my foundation and now I get to give back to my community. I know that it is very important to have recovery communities because being in one myself I know that the program works if you work it. Sincerely Christina Davis

Last Name: Snodderly Organization: True Recovery RVA Locality: Henrico

I am submitting comments in support of HB277, Safe, Certified Recovery Residences. As an operator and a person in recovery, I fully support HB 277. As the overdose numbers continue to rise across the commonwealth, the need for safe, structured living environments for individuals suffering from Substance Use Disorder increases. This bill would ensure that those seeking recovery through recovery housing would have housing provided by operators who meet minimum state standards and ensure safe practices. Adopting national standards across the commonwealth would ensure uniformity and safety for an already at-risk population that needs the commonwealth's support. Ensuring the referral process is done through state recognized providers offers a level of support Virginians have yet to see. As a person in recovery, who has had the personal experience of living in a recovery house within the state of Virginia I can express how pertinent it is to have accountability and structure in order to sustain long-term recovery. I have personally been a resident in a VARR certified recovery residence, I was released from incarceration directly to one of these recovery houses, got connected to recovery, and moved out on my own after a year. I am now the Director of Operations for the same organization I was released to and advocate for other Virginians to be afforded the same opportunities. HB277 protects Virginians like me. Crystal Snodderly

Last Name: de Triquet Organization: none Locality: Henrico

I resided in a certified recovery residence for over 18 months. I found both peer and staff support associated with the certified recovery residence to help me achieve and sustain my recovery from substance use disorder. HB277 will help many people in the state of Virginia seeking help from substance use disorder.

Last Name: Ronquest Organization: The McShin Foundation Locality: Hanover

The experiences I've had in recovery housing were those that not only saved my life, but changed it! I am celebrating five years of sustained recovery soon, and the first 18 months were in a recovery house. Since I've been in recovery, I've had the opportunity to work with and oversee a number of certified recovery residences- and thus have had the honor and privilege of watching hundreds of recovering addicts grow!!!

Last Name: Shinholser Organization: McShin Locality: Mechanicsville

HB277, The DBHDS and many stake holders has vigilantly worked together for several years organizing a professional non-clinical accrediting process and “parent “organization (VARR) for the purpose of maximizing the outcome for utilizing our tax dollars while at the same time ensuring quality policies and procedures of the operators and occupants of VARR members. VARR matured as a response from CSB’s, towns, cities and counties seeking a better understanding and insurance that VARR recovery residences are consistent, dependable, and reliable, simply put VARR homes are the “Good Housekeeping, Good Neighbors” seal of approval, you can count on this. HB277 has no negative impact on “any and all” other sober homes and recovery home organizations, they may all do business as usual, HB277 is not about non VARR homes. Any recovery house may apply for VARR, simple yet reliable accreditation, VARR does not discriminate. VARR accreditation falls well within federal guidelines in accordance with fair housing laws and regulations governing single family homes, municipalities welcome and embrace the value VARR homes bring to their communities, increased much needed recovery solution, increased public safety, increased property value, decrease in the impact substance use disorders have on the community. VARR homes welcome the transparent credibility they bring to the state of Virginia and will continue to excel in excellence of the recovery residences in our state. Please pass HB277, Thank you

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: The McShin Foundation Locality: Richmond

TODAY, I WRITE TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT HB277! I am a person in recovery from a substance use disorder. Crucial to my recovery were my first 18 months of my recovery that I lived in certified recovery housing. The structure, accountability, commitment to safety, and community gave me a lifelong foundation in recovery. I was first a participant, a peer leader, and then a house leader where I followed national standards to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of my fellow housemates. Safe, certified recovery housing is often the bedrock of long-term recovery for many individuals struggling with a substance use disorder. These structured recovery environments provide community support, stabilization, and opportunities to grow and heal from the devastation of a substance use disorder. HB277 further ensures public confidence in certified recovery residences, and addresses publicly funded referrals to recovery residences, nationally recognized standards, zoning, and recovery residences' rights to maintain a recovery environment. Voting to support HB277 demonstrates Virginia's continued commitment to proven, community-based solutions that increase our Commonwealth’s Certified Recovery Residence bed inventory quality level, ensure better recovery outcomes, and save lives! Thank you for your support of this important legislation.

Last Name: Bellanger Organization: VARR Locality: Hanover

As a person who has lived in uncertified recovery housing as well as an Oxford house and now owns and operates a recovery organization that runs certified recovery housing, I fully support this bill. This bill is not an anti Oxford House bill. This bill assures and solidifies a national standard that is well established and has been successfully implemented throughout the country. When passed this bill will ensure that vulnerable individuals who are already at risk of relapse and death are not turned away from safe housing, are not removed from safe housing without due process, and are under the supervision of trained staff. Furthermore it guarantees a process that is overseen and governed by a state recognized body that affords every resident rights, coordination of clinical care, community resources, and recovery support services that non accredited houses can neither support nor provide. Further, certified recovery residences are in many cases overseen by staff trained and certified by the state to provide peer support services. These peers recognize that the traditional methods often employed by unlicensed or self governed houses present unnecessary risk to their residents. Also, certified recovery residences are open to multiple pathways of recovery. Over 26 million Americans identify as being “in recovery” while only 2 million identify as following a 12-step path. Oxford houses are based on a 12 step model. This model does not follow a recognized continuum of care. This model instead states that it “shall forever remain non professional” which runs counter to the level of due diligence necessary when dealing with such a vulnerable population. If you were in an accident you would want your car repaired by a licensed mechanic. How much more precious are our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and parents? We want them to get the best possible services and to have those services provided by accredited organizations overseen by trained staff. In closing, to ensure the safety of the community at large, and to establish and promote a standard that will protect vulnerable citizens I strongly urge that this bill be passed.

Last Name: Bellanger Organization: VARR Locality: Hanover

As a person who has lived in uncertified recovery housing as well as an Oxford house and now owns and operates a recovery organization that runs certified recovery housing, I fully support this bill. This bill is not an anti Oxford House bill. This bill assures and solidifies a national standard that is well established and has been successfully implemented throughout the country. When passed this bill will ensure that vulnerable individuals who are already at risk of relapse and death are not turned away from safe housing, are not removed from safe housing without due process, and are under the supervision of trained staff. Furthermore it guarantees a process that is overseen and governed by a state recognized body that affords every resident rights, coordination of clinical care, community resources, and recovery support services that non accredited houses can neither support nor provide. Further, certified recovery residences are in many cases overseen by staff trained and certified by the state to provide peer support services. These peers recognize that the traditional methods often employed by unlicensed or self governed houses present unnecessary risk to their residents. Also, certified recovery residences are open to multiple pathways of recovery. Over 26 million Americans identify as being “in recovery” while only 2 million identify as following a 12-step path. Oxford houses are based on a 12 step model. This model does not follow a recognized continuum of care. This model instead states that it “shall forever remain non professional” which runs counter to the level of due diligence necessary when dealing with such a vulnerable population. If you were in an accident you would want your car repaired by a licensed mechanic. How much more precious are our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and parents? We want them to get the best possible services and to have those services provided by accredited organizations overseen by trained staff. In closing, to ensure the safety of the community at large, and to establish and promote a standard that will protect vulnerable citizens I strongly urge that this bill be passed.

Last Name: Dewberry Organization: Thomas Jefferson Institute Locality: Arlington

I’m just signing up to listen

Last Name: Cosby Organization: Oxford House- Megdavis Locality: lynchburg

I am a current resistant at the Meg Davis Oxford house in Lynchburg Virginia. I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I was an independent woman and a successful teacher for 16 years until my addiction to alcohol caught up with me. For years, I struggled with fighting this disease on my own until I was introduced to A. A. and the Oxford program. I have been successful in my recovery because of the fellowship and support of the Oxford house program. I have a full time job, pay my bills on time, attend church again, and attend AA meetings daily because of the fellowship of the Oxford program. I have gain meaningful life long relationships through Oxford House. I am able to be independent again in every aspect of my life! Most importantly, I have gain my self worth again that alcohol took away from me. I feel strong in my recovery and my life again thanks to the Oxford House. Sincerely, Kelly Cosby

Last Name: McCormack Organization: Virginia State Association of Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

Good Morning Chair, My Name is John McCormack and I am a recovering Alcoholic and a resident of an Oxford House in Northern Virginia. Being a member of an Oxford House has truly given me my dignity as a contributing member of my Oxford House. The Oxford House model in essence is about having a voice in how things are done to keep the house I live in functioning. In the Oxford Houses I have lived in we run our house efficiently and effectively for example I have served in my oxford house as a president, secretary, treasurer, comptroller, chore coordinator and housing service representative each house is organized by chapters in Virginia our commonwealth has 18 chapters. The Oxford Model consist of members who have officer duties I have been a Chapter 1 Vice Chair, Chair, and Treasurer; currently all chapters are under Virginia State Association. Oxford House is throughout the USA and International. We are self governing in Oxford this method has proven with a lot of supportive data to be working since 1975. I beg you to listen to the members of Oxford House who will testify that being a self supporting member of an Oxford House has provided a path to becoming a contributing member of society with a lasting sobriety. I apricate your time and attention to my concerns in closing I ask that you vote No to HB 277 and SB622 Thank you, John McCormack VSA Chair

Last Name: Heard Locality: Williamsburg

Henry Heard house member of (Oxford House Williamsburg) 17.5 yrs. Not in favor of this Bill, which targets Oxford House Inc. Respectfully

Last Name: Edge Organization: Oxford House, Inc. Locality: Arlington

Comments Document

Good Morning Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, My name is Michael Devin Edge, and I am a member of Oxford House - Nauck, located in Arlington, Virginia. Oxford House has provided me housing and rehabilitative support to aid me in my recovery. The Oxford House Charter and System of Operations provides me accountability and structure that leads to a successfully run, and safe recovery home with high standards. I believe the self-run, self-supporting nature of Oxford House helps make this house and the people in it successful. I am in opposition to HB277 which removes Oxford House as one of the certifying entities. If this bill is passed, it will lead to the decertification and closing of the 158 Oxford Houses providing over 1,300 recovery beds across the state. This would leave these individuals who are already residing in recovery residences homeless. Requiring all certified recovery residences be staffed would eliminate not only all Oxford Houses but any NARR-certified Level 1 recovery residences and violates the Fair Housing Act by imposing discriminatory terms and conditions and a negative impact on similarly situated recovery residences. Research shows the non-staffed, self-governing aspect of Oxford House is critical to the unparalleled abstinence rates it produces. Oxford Houses represent a significant majority of all recovery residences in Virginia. Decertifying them would drastically reduce the availability of much-needed recovery housing that would detrimentally impact the citizens of Virginia who suffer from substance use disorders and their families. It would increase the financial burden of addiction on the state and increase recidivism rates, unnecessarily costing taxpayers more in jails and prisons. All DBHDS health regions are well-represented in the distribution of Oxford Houses. VARR-certified houses are highly concentrated in the metro-Richmond area, with significantly less presence in regions outside Region 4. Region 1 – 30 Oxford Houses, Region 2 – 60 Oxford Houses, Region 3 – 19 Oxford Houses, Region 4 – 12 Oxford Houses, and Region 5 – 37 Oxford Houses. The proposed changes to the law were not developed in an appropriate way with all impacted stakeholders, including DBHDS, OHI, and VARR, but were instead developed in an abbreviated time period with no consultation or input from OHI. The proposed changes to existing law that remove OHI as a credentialing entity and require all certified recovery residences to be staffed should be removed or HB277 should be defeated. Oxford House believes there needs to be a legislative workgroup convened to discuss the merits and impact of any changes to existing law and how we can best serve and keep healthy and safe the citizens of Virginia. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277

Last Name: Weber Organization: Oxford House Locality: Prince William

My name is Danielle Weber and I have been living in an Oxford House for almost 2 years. If it wasn’t for Oxford Houses I would not be here today. When I came into an Oxford House I was broken, depressed and barely getting by emotionally and with my addiction. Through Oxford House I have gained self-confidence, pride in how I am handling tough and stressful situations, opening up to let my house mates get to know me and feeling loved, cared for and trusting of other people. My emotional wellbeing is significantly better, I am able to go through Oxford House and its affiliates to get the help that I needed. Oxford House is so much more than just a sober living home, it is a family, a community that stands by you and helps you through every situation you find yourself in. It is a life changing organization that helps thousands and thousands of people. Through the rules of the house and the State Association it gives us structure that we need and it sets us up for success in life. Through Oxford House we have been able to completely turn our lives around and reconnected us to our friends, family and children. Oxford House brings people together and helps us and our family heal from our past wrongs. Oxford House is an amazing program that breaths life back into us.

Last Name: Whitley Locality: Portsmouth

Comments Document

Please Vote No on HB 277 and SB 622. Bullet points and my story are attached.

Last Name: Jebavy Organization: Oxford House Locality: Loudoun

Please vote NO to HB277 and SB622.

Last Name: Jackson Organization: Oxford House Locality: Virginia Beach

Good morning Chairman and members of the committee, My name is Deborah Jackson and I am a woman in long term recovery. I have been clean and sober for 7 years and 5 months. I moved into Oxford House a broken woman after detox on Aug 17, 2014. Oxford House changed my life! I learned how to live again. I became self-reliant, which led to my biggest gift of recovery, self respect. The women I lived with became my family. They held me accountable, required me to become involved in our house and called me out on my behaviors. In 2019 I started working for Oxford House as an Outreach Worker. I am passionate about this organization because I see first hand how many lives we save. Oxford House has a solid, proven Standard of Operations. Having a house manager does not work for everyone. Many of us have failed at being managed, from the original house managers (our parents) to the jailers, probation officers, and hospital staff. What worked for us was an environment that is supportive but requires our participation. We make sure the bills get paid, that our homes are clean, and we help each new person that comes along. We learn the practical skills we need to re-enter the world. Oxford Houses work by shared understanding and mutual respect that helps people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. In 2019 with the support of DBHDS we worked with legislative staff and the outcome was that two nationally recognized organizations, Oxford House and VARR would certify recovery homes and hold them accountable to certain standards. Everyone involved was pleased with the result and this legislation was an example to other states as to how regulation can allow Oxford House and VARR to coexist to ensure the quality of all recovery residences and help the most people. This was a successful piece of legislation in 2019 and it still is in 2022. Why are we changing something that is working and benefitting the most people? Oxford House is trusted and respected by community service boards, treatment centers, the courts, the Dept of Corrections, faith-based organizations and 12 Step programs. We are the gold standard in recovery housing. We have been operating since 1975. Why? Because it works! Removing Oxford House as a credentialing entity will have a devastating effect. The State of Virginia would lose 158 houses and 1,302 recovery beds. This is short sighted and irresponsible. Our communities will suffer but no one will suffer worse than the addict and their families in need of what we offer at Oxford House. Vote no for HB277.

Last Name: Robinson Organization: Oxford House Locality: Prince William

Good morning chairman and members of the committee. My name is Debbie, and I am a woman in long term recovery. I am also an alumnus of Oxford House – Pentagon located in Fairfax Virginia. I lived at Oxford House – Pentagon from 2007-2009. I struggled with substance abuse for over 35 years, not once getting clean and sober as I bounced all around Northern Virginia including being homeless many times in Fairfax County. On February 2, 2022, I will celebrate 15 years of sobriety, and this is all because of my Oxford House experience. Moving into Oxford House was not an easy decision for me. I was scared and not sure if I could follow the 5 pages of house rules which at that time following rules was not in my nature, nor abiding by the law. Being held accountable for my actions was something I had not experienced since I was 13 years old yet needed it to stay alive. Now suddenly, I had 6 other woman who would hold me accountable and guide me to a better life because of what they had learned while living in the Oxford House. I have overdosed in the past and living at Oxford House was a very safe place to live and I truly enjoyed living in the house. Oxford House gave me time to grow in my recovery while all along becoming the productive citizen I am today. I gave up my career as an Accountant to help those with substance abuse disorder. Because of my experience in Oxford House and what they gave to me I started working for Oxford House on January 1, 2014. I volunteered for Oxford House for 5 years prior to becoming an employee. I am currently the Senior Outreach in Northern Virginia. I lived in Fairfax County for 48 years and now reside in Prince William County, so this meant a lot to me to be able to help those in my hometown and statewide. Opening new Oxford Houses in Northern Virginia is what I love to do. It’s a privilege to go into our jails, prisons and treatment centers in Virginia and let others know they can have a better life if they just give Oxford House a chance to help them. It is amazing of how many former members I see daily that are still clean and sober and it is because of Oxford House. Currently in Northern Virginia we have 61 houses with over 500 members. Almost every member was referred by either a treatment center, a hospital, jails, or prisons. I work with referral agency representatives every day to help someone get to a safe home. These referral agencies across the state work with us very closely because they to believe in what Oxford House is doing and the lives it has saved. Removing Oxford House as a credentialing agency would result in decertification of all our houses statewide which would be 158 houses. This will affect over 1300 members who believe in what Oxford House is doing and is willing to change their lives for the better by following the Model. Oxford House is one of the most recognized evidence-based programs in Virginia, if not worldwide with an 87% abstinence rate. Let Oxford House grow and continue to save lives. We all wish we could save everyone’s life who is suffering from substance abuse disorder, but we also recognize know matter how hard we work, how many laws we change or write we will still lose our friends and family members to a disease that continues to grow higher every year. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: Yadav Organization: Oakdale Oxford House Locality: Vienna

To whom it may concern, I am an alcoholic that has struggled with my addiction all my life. In spite of multiple attempts, I destroy my personal and professional life. I had lost of jobs had multiple seizures and in the end, lost family support. After my last visit to a rehabilitation program, I had no place to go after the program. I was told about Oxford House and an interview was set up. Members of the Oxford house got together and the majority of the house voted yes. That vote gave me the shelter and structure to begin building my life back. I have lived in an Oxford house for a year and a half. Oxford model has taught me to communicate and make the right decisions with other fellow housemates to keep our house stable in a democratic fashion. It is a good feeling to know that everyone’s opinions matter and all voices are equal in the house. All house members are important and hold a valuable position in the house to make it function. The important and valuable asset about Oxford House is that it provides Structure and not control to the members that live in it. I would urge you to VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB626. Thank you Oxford House for giving me a chance to make better of my life and keeping my sobriety strong. Regards Sandeep Yadav

Last Name: Shannon Organization: Oxford House Brookland Park Locality: Richmond

Comments Document

Please see attached statement regarding bill HB277. Please vote NO to bill HB277

Last Name: Jammes Organization: Hunter Street Oxford House Locality: Fairfax City

No to HB 277 and SB622

Last Name: Cranford Organization: Oxford House Rising Sun Locality: Fredericksburg

Good morning chairman and members of the committee, My name is Joseph Cranford and I am a resident of Oxford House Rising Sun located in Fredericksburg, VA. Mr. Phillip A. Scott is my delegate for the city of Fredericksburg. I am writing this letter to voice my opinion on bill HB277 and Oxford House as an organization and what it has done for me and my recovery. In AA the literature states that one addict helping another is without parallel. I have found this to be completely true. Oxford House has not only given me a home but helped me to become a responsible member of society. Im not sure where I would be if not for Oxford House and its members. Jails, institutions, or even death. In conclusion, Oxford House is a vital part of the recovery process for myself and so many other so please vote NO to bill HB277. Thank you, Joseph Cranford - Oxford House Rising Sun

Last Name: Osborne Organization: Oxford House Locality: fairfax

Oxford house has given me a second chance to fix my life. I was a lost cause, someone that most people would avoid at all cost. During my addiction i wrote everyone off because I didn't know to live like a normal human being so it was easier to walk away than change. My oxford family changed that, they showed me it could be done by people with the same disease as mine. They hold me accountable when i mess up and don't allow me to take the easy way out and encourage me to stay on the right path and guide me when I don't see the light. Since I've became a member of oxford I've completely changed my life. i have over a year clean and sober. i hold a full time job and pay taxes and involve myself in service work. Its helped me be a better son, father, brother and friend. There's not a doubt in my or my families minds that without this life altering experience id be dead. This system works if you're willing to put the work in. Please don't change it. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Sarah Organization: Oxford House - Melita Locality: Springfield

Please vote NO to HB277 Oxford has allowed me to stay sober. It has given me a place to be held accountable for my actions. I have stayed sober for almost 4 years now and I have Oxford to thank for that. I am grateful to be living at Oxford House - Melita. There are not enough recovery homes for women and I hope to we open more Oxford Houses just for ladies.

Last Name: Rose Organization: Oxford House Locality: Springfield

It has saved many lives including my own. It has given my son his mother back. I have a recovery network. I have accountability. I will forever be grateful for Oxford and the opportunities it’s given me. I am very happy that myself and my son have a safe place to sleep. Say NO to HB277

Last Name: Wells Organization: Oxford House - Landmark Locality: Alexandria

Comments Document

PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622 Attached is my statement.

Last Name: elder Organization: Beau Lane Oxford House Locality: fairfaix

oxford house has given me the opportunity to have a chance to hold myself accountable for my self in a manner i would not have recieved any any other living condition. When i decided to get sober I finally made the decision to do it for myself by myself. The other attempts were to show my family and loved ones I wanted to be the person they wanted me to be but this time I made the decision on my own. i went from detox to rehab to oxford house and i would have never been able to find a steady residence with my credit and renting history. the thing that makes oxford house unique is the fact that you have to hold your self responsible and complete your duties and follow the rules to maintain as in doing chores, going to a.a./n.a meeetings, going to hsc, the weekly house meeting, and the chapter meeting. No one is here to tell you have to or make you go and that is the sole thing that has given me the opportunity to hold myself accountable get myself to places and rely on no one else. for me i always had asked a friend or family or acquaintance to help me and it always led me to solely rely on other means of survival. Now being here i have paid my court fines my asap classes i am on mental heath meds and i am active in recovery. If i had someone here overseeing i did all these things my independence that i have worked so hard to acquire would mean nothing i would not learn to be self reliant, i would not have the chance to say i did it. another factor is the support from the house members us being self supporting is a major contribution to the foundation of keeping ourselves accountable for what we do. we follow the oxford house rules and other ones we deem fit to follow upon the democratic opinion of the majority vote i feel having someone here would take away from that and make it difficult to succeed in the manner that we have been in the time i have been here . please think about the independence that we obtain from being self supportive and thank you for your time. Ryan Elder Beau lane oxford house member

Last Name: Wise Organization: Oxford House - Landmark Locality: Alexandria

Comments Document

See my comments attached. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: Thompson Organization: Oxford House - Landmark Locality: Alexandria

Comments Document

PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622 Attached is my statement.

Last Name: Newsome Organization: Oxford House - Landmark Locality: Fairfax

Comments Document

HB277 AND SB622 - Please vote NO Attached is my letter.

Last Name: Bradley Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

Comments Document

PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622 I have attached by comments.

Last Name: Hamid Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

My name is Andrew. I have been a resident of an Oxford house for almost 2 years. It has helped me tremendously. It gave me the structure I needed to progress in my recovery and also gave me a stable environment to live, grow and regain accountability. Oxford houses have helped so many people and it will continue to as long as it exists. HB277 vote no for this bill.

Last Name: Knight Organization: Oxford House Mountain Road Locality: Glen Allen

Good morning chairmen and members of the committee, My name is Crystal Knight and I am currently a member at Oxford House Mountain Road a women's and children house in Glen Allen, VA. I moved into an Oxford House almost 2 years ago, after speaking to my sponsor who had highly recommended coming to an Oxford House. Oxford House has given me a chance to put some roots down in my recovery and time to grow. I have 2 children under the age of 6 and have been given a chance to have regular visits with my girls because of the amazing program that Oxford House offers. Both of my daughters absolutely love coming over to visit and see all the women living here. Its always a struggle to get them ready to leave because they love it here so much. I have developed a strong support system, have gotten very close to the ladies here and love them dearly. Ive been able to acquire over a year and a half of sobriety, have held a full time job and have been working with the court system to regain custody of my daughters. I truly have a lot to thank Oxford House for. Oxford House saved my life and has made me a better person, a better mother, and a better friend all around. I have struggled with addiction all my life and I'm finally seeing a brighter future ahead of me because of this amazing program called Oxford House. Please vote NO to bill HB277 so I can continue to grow and offer support to other around me! Thank you, Crystal Knight, Oxford House Mountain Road

Last Name: Douglas Organization: Oxford House Inc Locality: Fairfax

I've been in both a house that has had an overseer and am now a member of an Oxford House, where it is not required. Having experienced both, I feel I have grown more in my sobreity with out an overseer. Having the responsibility, the resources, and the choice to embrace my sobreity has been a ray of hope and empowerment, changing what I believe my future may hold. Please don't vote for HB277 and SB622. -Sincerly Mr. Douglas

Last Name: Bass Organization: Oxford House Locality: Henrico

Comments Document

Please see attached.

Last Name: Koubsky Organization: Oxford House - Blossom Locality: Williamsburg

To Delegate Michael Mullins, my name is Kevin Koubsky and I am a resident of Oxford House - Blossom located in Williamsburg and I'm writing you with concerns about HB277. I've struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for most of my life. I was homeless, in jail and honestly on the edge of death. I have been to treatment 7 times, multiple detoxes until finally entered The Farley Center in Williamsburg. After treatment I had no where to go. My parents didn't trust me. My counselor told me about Oxford House. Oxford House has changed my life in ways this letter doesn't do justice. It allowed me to be with people who are trying to recover and lead better lives. We hold weekly House Business Meetings and the guys I live with are family to me. We hold each other accountable and follow the model for the way we run our house. There are 5 houses in Williamsburg and we communicate on a daily basis . We also meet monthly to submit and discuss financial reports and house reports so we know where each house stands. We discuss what's happening in our community. Oxford House is a world wide organization that not only helps addicts but helps their families. Our success speaks for itself. I hope you take the time to look at the positives that come from Oxford. Nothing is perfect. I am blessed to have been sober for 821 days ( 2 years and 3 months ) I give Oxford House all the credit . It has truly changed who I am. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and vote no for HB277. Kevin Koubsky Chapter 16 Chairperson Oxford House - Blossom Secretary Recovering Addict and Loving Father

Last Name: Counts Organization: Oxford House Pollard Park ii Locality: Richmond

Good morning chairman and members of the committee, My name is Jodi Counts and I am writing on behalf of Oxford House Pollard Park ii against bill HB277. I would like to say that Oxford House has made a huge impact on my life and in my recovery. I am 44 years old and have been addicted to drugs since I was 15. After being incarcerated in 2018 for 3 years, I made a decision to not return home to Washington County, Virginia and decided to move into an Oxford House in Richmond, Virginia. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have been living here since September of 2021 and since that time have obtained a very well paying job, obtained my drivers license and got a car. I have reconnected with my family and for the first time in a long time am proud of who I am and in what I am achieving in life. My being in an Oxford House has put me in contact with a great number of people who can relate to my story and also guide me in my recovery from their experiences as well. I am able to connect with the other women in the house and know that they hold me accountable for my actions without judgement. I need Oxford House and I know that there are many like me that need it as well. It is doing great things for a great number of people. So in conclusion please vote NO to bill HB277 in order for Oxford House to save countless more people suffering from substance use disorders. Thank you, Jodi Counts, Oxford House Pollard Park ii

Last Name: Williams Organization: Oxford House - Littleback Locality: Hampton

Hello chairman and members of the committee, My name is Kevin Williams and i am a member of Oxford House - Littleback. I have resided there for two and a half years. Being in the Oxford House has been and integral part of my recovery. Oxford House is strong support for those of us in the recovery community. I simply as you to say no to this bill, HB277, because it will ultimately affect the greater recovery community and Oxford House. which in some areas (like ours) is our only option for recovery housing in the area.

Last Name: Kusmira Organization: Oxford House Mountain Road Locality: Glen Allen

Good morning chairman and members of the committee, My name is Vicki Kusmira and I am currently a member of Oxford House Mountain Road, a women's and children house in Glen Allen, Virginia. I have lived at this house for more than two years now with several other women in recovery. Oxford House has given me a great structure to work my recovery in, which I will be forever grateful for. Along with a stable place to live they have a model to live by requiring that I stay active holding a position in the house, as well as staying active in my recovery and holding other accountable to the same standards. Once a month we have chapter meetings were all the houses get together to talk about how they are doing and this is just one more system is in place in order to make sure houses are running according to the Oxford House model and traditions. Its rewarding to be a part of something larger than myself. To have a purpose. Again, I am so appreciative of Oxford House and the people involved with this group. Not group but family. One big Oxford House family extending experience, strength and hope to everyone involved. So in conclusion please vote NO to bill HB277 and keep Oxford House going in the state of Virginia. Thank you, Vicki Kusmira, Oxford House Mountain Road

Last Name: Winstead Organization: Oxford house Locality: Fairfax

Please vote no HB277. Im a member of oxford house and it has helped me a great deal in the time ive been here. If you put a house manager in these houses it will ruin the program for so many of us. We want to contol our homes and recovery demcraticly. Ive been in a handful of sober houses in my life and oxford has been the one ive found the most success and comfort in. It will be bad for so many peoples soberiety. hope this helps.

Last Name: hart Organization: oxford house Locality: vienna

Hello Reporsetatives Myname is john H I have been clean for six year due to my stay in Oxford House befor comming into Oxford House I had no direction or guidance by being here i recieved all that and more a work history a reason to feel i am worthy of what comes next life has been so good to me since I have been in the Oxford house inviorment Thank You Jophn Hart

Last Name: Trupiano Organization: Oxford House - Littleback Locality: Hampton

Dear Delegate A.C. Cordoza, I hope you consider saying no to bill HB277. I have lived at Oxford House - Littleback for 6 years now. We are a self ran, self supporting, peer driven recovery residence. We hold each other accountable per the Oxford House model of operations. The men in my home have became my family. HB277 would dramatically impact our recovery residence. It would potentially cause the loss of recovery beds not only in Oxford House - Littleback but in Virginia as a whole.

Last Name: ayala lopez Organization: Oxford House Inc Locality: fairfaix

Dear My name is Moises and I have been a part of Oxford for 2 years. Im voteing no on this bill

Last Name: Saylor Organization: Oxford House Inc Locality: Vienna

To whom it may concern, this letter is just a brief summary of my personal experience with oxford house and what it has done for me in my personal journey. I have struggled on my own for a long time with my addiction and its effects on my personal and professional life. In the last years of it I, like many others, watched as it destroyed personal, professional, and familial relationships despite my best efforts to get and remain sober. It was only after several trips to detox and residential rehab programs that I finally decided to give the Oxford model a try. I cannot convey how much this organization has changed my life for the better. Since living in an Oxford house I have managed to put together 18 months of sobriety, something I have not ever done since my early 20's. The model fosters a sense of belonging, and also helps to reestablish a sense of independence. I strongly feel adding a requirement to have some sort of house manager/staff member would be a major detriment to that aspect specifically. In an Oxford house everyone is an equal, regardless of sober time, and that dynamic would completely change with the addition of an overseeing staff member or house manager. It is for that reason specifically that I strongly urge you to not vote in favor of HB277 or SB622. I understand that Oxford is not the only organization that operates a service such as this, however I strongly feel that forcing them to alter the model from what has been proven to work since 1975 due to the short comings of other organizations would have a detrimental effect on those currently residing in, and future residents of an Oxford house. Regards, Mark Saylor. Sober since July 13, 2020 thanks in large part to Oxford House Inc and the opportunity they have afforded me.

Last Name: heflin Organization: oxford house Locality: vienna

Hello my name is Mr. Heflin I have lived in this house for 6 years and the reason is because it works. I love the way it is set up that not one person is the boss of everyone we are all equals and every one gets a say so on how the house is ran we take care of all the bills and stuff like that and to be honest if i was a new person moving in or looking to move into a Oxford house and they told me we have a house manger that tells us what to do and how to do it I would not move in because I did rehab places witch are great but when you get out of rehab you want to move into a place that you can call home. I love the fact that we have to pay the bills are self and take care of the house. I believe it you vote yes for this a lot of people like me would not want to move into a place that we think is like a half way house. Because that is how it will fill . Thank you for your time and stay blessed.

Last Name: Dalton Organization: Oxford House Mountain Road Locality: Glen Allen

Good morning chairman and members of the committee, My name is Kat Dalton and I am a member of Oxford House Mountain Road in Glen Allen, Virginia. Oxford House Mountain Road is one of the women and children houses that Oxford House has all throughout the state. Although I do not have young children, the atmosphere of life and laughter has been insurmountable. I have lived at this house for 2 and a half years and have not regretted my decision to reside once. Oxford House has enabled me to overcome and live with my addiction. The house has been a safe haven for me and all the women and children that live and have lived here. Not only has Oxford House offered all of us a safe place to live but they have taught us valuable life skills in order for us to use when we decide its time for us to take the next step in life. I love being part of a self-run, self-supporting house in many ways and it also gives me a sense of accomplishment to go along with it. Because of Oxford Houses model it forces all of us to step up and help run the house in order for us to remain open and in the process teaches us all about running a household all while building lasting relationships with the other women in my house. It also means that we must hold each other accountable to the rules and our recovery or we risk putting everyone at danger. Please vote NO to HB277 and keep Oxford House at the forefront of recovery housing. I am able to give back to society now with my experience, strength and hope. Thank you, Kat Dalton Oxford House Mountain Road

Last Name: MARSHALL Organization: Oxford House Locality: Alexandria

Comments Document

Attached is my letter.Please vote No to HB277 and SB622

Last Name: Shipp Organization: OXFORD HOUSE Locality: ALEXANDRIA

Comments Document

PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622. SEE ATTACHED LETTER.

Last Name: Coniglio Organization: Oxford House Edgehill Locality: Richmond

Good morning chairman and members of the committee, My name is Danika Conigilio, I am currently 31 and a member of Oxford House Edgehill. I have been struggling with addiction since 18 and a member of Oxford Houses since 23. It is the safest place I have lived at and truly enjoy living at while also having a in house job, responsibilities, paying my own rent all while staying sober and following the rules. I love the fact I can stay here as long as I want and only leave when I am truly ready to be on my own. Much of my life has not been enjoyable and almost every happy moment in my life has been Oxford House memories wether if be at the conventions, with my roommates or through my own self progress. This is a huge stepping stone for me and my recovery and it would severely hurt me if it was ever taken away. I can get off of work and know that I am coming home to a safe and clean environment with people I know and can count on. It is important for everyone to have a place where they can grow and feel safe at and Oxford House Edgehill is that place! We keep ourselves in check and don't let anyone take our sobriety as a joke. I have relied on Oxford House for quite some time and I have grown more than ever in life and continue to grow on a daily basis with the help of Oxford House and the girls I live with. Thank you, Danika Coniglio Oxford House Edgehill

Last Name: Norman Locality: Vienna, VA

I do not want any changes to be made because it would greatly change to direction and purpose of oxford recovery homes. I am resident at Oxford home. Oxford homes are a community of members in recovery. It self run and managed by the members of the house. I have been living in a Oxford house. It has afforded me with strength and support in my life and recovery.

Last Name: Roberson Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

Oxford House has given me a clean, safe, healthy environment without judgment and misunderstandings. It has enabled me to start a new life again, with long term sobriety. Having a simplistic structure with a few principles and rules gives me the freedom of choice, and I am encouraged daily to do what's right and live free. Having the freedom to choose to do what is right encourages me to believe in myself and stay strong. And, I'm thankful for the Oxford House. Please vote NO to bill BS277

Last Name: Miller Organization: Oxford House Inc Locality: Fairfax

Dear Representatives, My name is Nick Miller and I found myself in detox nearly two years ago having lost everything in my life. My wife filed for divorce and custody of our children, I filed bankruptcy, I lost of all of my possessions because my house was in foreclosure, my cars were repossessed and my life savings had vanished. It was the beginning of the pandemic and after I received confirmation that I would be going to rehab all of the rehabs were subsequently closed. I learned about Oxford house and quickly called to set up an interview and was accepted. I have been clean and sober now nearly two years later. I wouldn't have been able to recover without Oxford House. I learned how to be accountable and hold others accountable. I learned how to be grateful and to give back and help others in need. I learned what recovery was and how to get it. I have a relationship with my family again, a steady job and career, I recently bought a car and most importantly I have a second chance at living a productive life. One of the reasons I believe Oxford house works is that there is no boss in the house. We have to come together as members in the house and make things work by following the rules. Oxford house provided me a safe place to recover knowing that there is zero tolerance for using drugs or alcohol anytime anywhere. It truly works and I'm living proof. Please don't deprive men and women the opportunity to recover as I did by following the oxford house model. Best regards, Nick Miller

Last Name: Eplion Organization: Oxford House Pollard Park ii Locality: Richmond

Good morning chairman and members of the committee, My name is Easton Eplion. I am a recovering addict and a current resident of Oxford House Pollard Park ii in Richmond, VA. Oxford House has become the backbone to my recovery. When I was released from a year long program in Chesterfield, VA my biggest fear was going back home to the place where I'd spent 15 years in the same town with the same people doing the same things. I needed a safe place to go that was away from it all or I wouldn't have made it in recovery. Oxford House Pollard Park ii has given me a strong sense of family and belonging. The women I reside with have become my biggest critics and supporters. We have found a safe place within each other. We hold each other accountable and keep each other on track in our recovery. Without Oxford House I would simply be lost. Oxford Houses are such a strong force in todays recovery homes and it would be a shame to take that away from so many people suffering with this disease. It teaches us to live, really live on our own and go to work and clean up after ourselves and pay the bills and rent on time to uphold a normalcy in recovery that helps us to be ready to go out on our own. It is a vital stepping stone to mine and many others recovery program. There are no staff, probation officers or therapists here, but there are peers and love and a recovery network and the vital independence we need to learn before becoming productive members of society on our own. I strongly urge anyone reading this to please take this into consideration. We are a united force in recovery and Oxford House has been helping those of us in those final steps for so long now... since 1975 to be exact! To lose this essential step would be such a loss to those who haven't discovered it and an even greater loss to those of us who have and are utilizing the abundance of skills the Oxford House model has provided us with. I simply could not imagine the state of Virginia loosing the 1,302 beds that Oxford House provides and the damage it would do to the recovery community. Thank you for your time, Easton Eplion Oxford House Pollard Park ii

Last Name: Nelson Organization: Oxford House - Hermosa Locality: Fairfax County

Since I moved into the Oxford House in October 2021, I have learned the true meaning of happiness, help, joy and recovery. Oxford has allowed me to learn how to function in society, live a normal life as a regular citizen, and not be looked at like an addict. Being at Oxford has taught me how to be stable; it's taught me how to accept constructive criticism, and it's taught me how to trust people again. It's giving me stability that I truly never have had since I left my parents' home years ago. I have built some amazing life long relationships with women inside my home, as well as in the Oxford community that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Why would you want to change an organization that has saved so many with substance abuse disorder. This is very sad that the government or any other organization thinks they have a better way of running our houses than those that live in our homes. Oxford House has proven to work. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: Sprinkle Organization: Derek W. Sprinkle Oxford House Finn Mountain Locality: Lynchburg

Oxford Houses across the Virginia common wealth have saved the lives of countless men and women. Many great contributing people(s). Oxford House’s structure and accountability provide a necessary transition point for those suffering from the disease of addiction. Building life skills, learning to maintain a sustainable and responsible lifestyle. Please do not take away the freedom of organizations to recommend, educate, and provide information directing individuals to this great organization.

Last Name: Swinney Organization: John swinney Oxford house Finn mountain Locality: Lynchburg

My name is John Swimmey Oxford house save my life the structure and the accountability and the Self-reliance it is taught me how to manage my finances balance a checkbook pay my bills on time and the kick a habit that I just couldn’t kick To take away from monster house would be to murder people they just can’t get their life together I was one of those people until I came to Oxford house to lose the fact that someone could recommend us I would have never known if someone had recommended Oxford house to me I would be dead today if not for some entity telling me about Oxford house I am self-reliant I have a good job a career and I’m very thankful for what Oxford house has done for me

Last Name: Thibodeau Organization: Oxford House - Kyber Locality: Lynchburg

Hi my name is Kevin Thibodeau I'm currently staying at an Oxford House - Kyber in Lynchburg. If I didn't have the opportunity to come to an Oxford House after leaving treatment I would have went back down a path that would have lead me further away from recovery. Oxford House has given me the tools as well as guidance to start me on my journey of recovery and gave me a safe place to be so I didn't have to go back to the same people places and things I was around. If I didn't have Oxford House I wouldn't be starting a new job tomorrow, I wouldn't have a place to lay my head at night and I would still be sleeping in the nearest parking lot in my vehicle. Oxford house has done so much for me and not just me thousands of other people that are in recovery. In a sense oxford house has saved my life cause I don't know where I would be without it. SAY NO TO HB277

Last Name: Yip Organization: Oxford House - Hermosa Locality: Fairfax County

Without the help of Oxford House, I don't know where I would be today. It's more than just a place of residence for me, it's a family. I have been shown so much love, support and compassion since I've been here. I've also seen what Oxford House can do for others with no hope. I greatly appreciate Oxford. I have been here since January 7, 2022, and my sobriety date is May 31, 2021. Closing these house or taking away our charter will affect us helping other women. PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277

Last Name: Harris Organization: Oxford House - Hermosa Locality: Fairfax

Delegate Irene Shin, please vote no to Bill#277 Being within recovery can be challenging sometimes without having a sober network. Oxford house allows for individuals within recovery to be surrounded by people who are serious about their recovery. Within recovery I have had my longest abstinence from any mind altering substance while being within the Oxford community. Many addicts like myself need peer support while trying to change their way of life. Having these ladies within my house to support me has had an impact on my life emotionally and spiritually. Oxford is completely effective; however, the program only works if you stick to all Oxford house rules, and work the steps properly.

Last Name: Keighery Organization: Hunter Street Oxford House Locality: Fairfax City

I am new to the Oxford House, but I find it to be a very safe place to nurture and provide support for my ongoing sobriety. I appreciate and feel fortunate in having the ongoing Oxford House concept being a part of my immediate situation and look forward to many more sober days!! Kathie Hunter House

Last Name: Smith Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax County

I have been at different Oxford Houses. I have opened many houses. Oxford has allowed me to be responsible, pay my bills, and truly, truly help another suffering addict. Oxford has taught me so much. I have been in Oxford since 2014. If it wasn't for Oxford, I don't know where I would be today. I appreciate each and every one, and I wouldn't change it for the world. It's bad enough we don't have enough women recovery houses. Delegate Irene Shin - PLEASE VOTE NO TO HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: stearn Organization: Oxford House- Megdavis Locality: lynchburg

Hello, My name is Skyla Stearn, I am an Grateful Recovering addict, and currently reside at Oxford House-Meg Davis in Lynchburg Virginia, and have been residing here since September 15th, 2020 . Without oxford House, I would not be as far as I am in life! Oxford House has pushed me to build a network through my recovery, and also is the biggest part of my recovery, the most important part of my story with Oxford is that it has given me one of my children back, he resides here full time and is thriving, and I am thriving as a recovering mother ! Oxford has given me financial stability, it has given me my voice and helped me understand my addiction more than any program I have ever been in. I feel that these things happen because of the self-supporting model we are ran on, and I personally feel that it has been so sufficient to my recovery. This bill will cause a great many addicts to lose lives, or a safe warm HOME to call theirs ! Please consider the fact that I myself was referred by an Inpatient program, and because of that one referral, my whole entire life has changed, and I am present and fully capable of being a Mother, Daughter, friend, and just a productive citizen of society today, because of Oxford House. I guess what i am trying to say, is please think of the peoples lives that might be in danger, if they arent able to be referred, that could potentially safe a life. Oxford is just more than sober living, I have built a family, people i will keep in my life for years and years to come. Its the foundation of my Recovery !

Last Name: Williams Organization: Oxford House Mountain Road Locality: Glen Allen

Good morning Chairman and members of the committee, My name is Juanita Williams and I've been living in Oxford House Mountain Road for six months now. I love it here and I love that Oxford House is a self-run, self-supporting recovery residence. They opened their doors to me when I was living in a hotel and not doing so well. For that I will be forever grateful. I need this recovery housing program! It has taught me that sobriety is an amazing second chance at life. This is an awesome program and place for a recovering addict like myself. Living here lets me be a part of something larger than myself. Oxford House has given me skills to take with me into the world and into the work force that I never had before thanks to their system of operations. They have taught me how to be able to live on my own responsibly and safe. I love being part of a self supporting house because I can be a part of making every decision with other ladies that live in my house with me. Taking away Oxford House's ability to certify recovery residences would hurt my program of recovery and take away the chance for so many people in the future to experience all the good that Oxford House has to offer. Thank you Oxford House for being there for me and so many other people in recovery. Juanita Williams Oxford House Mountain Road

Last Name: Puryear Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax County

Delegate Irene Shin - Please not NO to HB277 & SB622 My thoughts about Oxford House living is that it is an effective way for a group of peers to live clean and sober lives. We support each other in our recovery. We run the house through weekly business meetings with jobs like Treasurer and Secretary. We are forced to take responsibility for our own lives without some type of manager being in charge.The peer support works well, and we all have equal say in the running of the house and keeping each other accountable. I have been in Oxford since June of 2020, and I have been sober since October 16. 1994.

Last Name: Adukaitis Organization: Oxford Houses Locality: Fairfax

I am very grateful for Oxford House(s)! When I was released from residential rehab in 2019, I was unable to go home. My Husband had a court order naming Him soul custodian of our son and soul occupant of our home in Arlington, va. I was quickly accepted into an Oxford House without a problem. I would have been homeless!! Since then, the divorce has been finalized, we share custody of our son and have a decent relationship with one another while we co-parent our 7 year old son.

Last Name: Serfess Organization: Oxford House - Forest Glen Locality: Falls Church, Fairfax County

I quit drinking many times in the past. I’d stay sober for 1, 3 and 9 months. Once or twice even managed to stay sober for a year. I always went back to drinking at some point. I went to jails, mental institutions, inpatient recovery programs, and every time I wanted to stay stopped more than anything in life. When I got sober this time I went to the Mens Home for 30 days and then to an Oxford House. That was in 2004, and I’ve been sober ever since and still live in an Oxford House today. This house is both my home and a very large part of my recovery from alcoholism. I would have been dead years ago had it not been for Oxford House.

Last Name: Joshua Organization: Oxford House - Brilyn Locality: Fairfax

Comments Document

See attached comments for Delegate Irene Shin (D) - House District 86 - Please vote NO to HB277. See attached comments.

Last Name: Hart Locality: Fairfax

Comments Document

Delegate Irene Shin (D) - House District 86 - Please vote NO to HB277. See attached comments.

Last Name: Maddox Organization: Beau Lane Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

To Whom it may concern: Hello, my name is Zekan Maddox. I live at Oxford house Beau Lane in Fairfax, Virginia. I have lived at Beau lane for 2+ years now and it's given me a safe, structured environment in which to turn my life around and to practice responsibility, to grow into a responsible, thoughtful, mindful, caring, compassionate human being, where I put the safety, health and needs of the group first. I'm in active recovery from drugs and alcohol, meaning that I've committed myself to it. I understand that there have been times within Oxford that individuals have died due to relapse but I would be willing to bet everything that I'll ever have that the odds for people to succeed in recovery are better with Oxford than without it. What I really want to say is that in my opinion, recovery is possible as long as one commits to it. That means committing to the Oxford model, meaning that first things first, we don't use or drink, no matter what, that is also the commitment within any of the 12 steps programs as well. Part of why Oxford is so successful is because it's run by Us, the residents, if it were run independently, outside of the resident run structure, I don't know that I personally would be sober for 2+ years. It was up to me, it is up to me to be responsible, to do my chores and my job inside of the house, to be a role model for the other residents here, it is up to me to go to meetings, to work my program, it is up to me to be a part of the society at-large outside of Oxford and to be that representative that the model works. I'm proud that it's up to me and I know that in conversations with other men here at Beau Lane along with others that I've spoken to about this subject that personal responsibility and accountability are paramount for success. In my opinion, Oxford needs to remain a safe and structured environment where that safety and that structure originates with the individuals that live in any particular house and needs to remain with the individuals of that house. I'm very sorry that some of us don't/won't have to opportunity to live a life of successful sobriety, that's very sad but at the end of the day, for those that don't/won't are the only reason that they don't/won't. We are here for one another as much as we can be in a healthy and productive manner, but we are a place where growth takes place, and growth isn't always comfortable, it's definitely not easy and it's definitely not always immediate but it happens here, but only if the individual is ready to do the work and ready to commit. Please allow us to continue to grow by our tried and true proven model that works when it's implemented. We are not a rehabilitation facility and we shouldn't be run as such. We are as we have always been, self run, self supporting and self managed. That's an important part of who we are and what we do within Oxford. Thank You, Zekan A. Maddox Oxford House Beau Lane

Last Name: Rudacille Organization: Oxford House Locality: Vienna

There is no doubt in my mind that Oxford House has been essential, critical, and a foundation for my recovery. Not only is it a safe and stable environment, Oxford House provides a platform for me to work with other alcoholics in the most direct way which in turn helps me to be sober. I cant thank them enough for my future as a recovering alcoholic !!!

Last Name: reimann Locality: Annandale

NO

Last Name: Walter Organization: Oxford House Inc. Locality: Lynchburg

My name is Dominic Walter. I’m 21 years old, and I’ve been an active member at Oxford House Kyber in Lynchburg, Virginia for over 4 months. Prior to my acceptance as a member, the environment I was living in did not offer the structure, nor the accountability necessary for me to remain abstinent long enough to fulfill my responsibilities. When the day came that I realized I had nowhere else to go and that I was tired of living in the cycle of hurting myself and others as a result of my active drug use, I looked into Oxford house as an alternative. Through managing house funds as the treasurer, maintaining the living space shared by the other members, and building relationships with other people involved within the recovery community, I’ve managed to mature significantly during the past months. These changes would not have been possible without the people in this house supporting me and holding me responsible for my actions. What makes an Oxford house successful are the people in it. Being democratically ran, we all have an equal chance to assume the responsibilities that come with living without the use of drugs or alcohol. The thing that we all share is an understanding of what it’s like to be in active addiction. Being a peer driven model, the people I live and communicate with are more apt than others to notice behavioral patterns indicating relapse, or risk of it. That is something I have come to deeply rely on in addition to my involvement in 12-step recovery groups.

Last Name: Muncy Organization: Hunter Street Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

I have resided at Hunter Street since August 2016. I have been able to not only been able to maintain my sobriety, maintained a steady income, and learned how to accept constructive critisism. I count myself extremely fortunate yo be part of the oxford house family.

Last Name: Gotliffe Organization: Hunter Street Oxford House Locality: Fairfax City

Oxford houses has given me a safe place to get back on my feet when I returned to the community from a state corrections facility. I am overjoyed with the comradery I have with my house mates and the community chapter I am a part of. Oxford homes keep a roof over my head, A safe place to live, accountability for my actions or lack thereof and a place to grow.

Last Name: Jammes Locality: Fairfax City

My sobriety date is October 23, 2015. I have been living at Hunter Street oxford House since January 17, 2016. Oxford house helped change my life and helped me have a safe place to live amongst other people in recovery also trying to stay sober. I was a heroin addict and although I had a friend letting me stay at his house I chose to move into Oxford because of the structure it offered while it also allowed me the freedom to live independently as opposed to living in a managed treatment center. I love the women I live with and have not felt lonely since moving into Oxford. Living here has provided me structure and helped me learn how to regain my life and be a productive member of society. I have been able to maintain the same job for 5 years and am now looking to return to school. Most importantly the house I live in makes me feel safe. I do not know where I would be without oxford.

Last Name: Souers Locality: James City County, VA

To the Members of the House of Delegates: I'm writing as a constituent of Michael P. Mullin (Virginia House of Delegates, 93rd District) regarding pending legislation related to those entities currently recognized as credentialing entities for the purpose of the certification of a recovery residence in the Commonwealth of Virginia; Oxford House is currently one of the recognized entities. I'm presently a member of Oxford House - Williamsburg and would like to convey the enormous and positive impact that my residency has had on my life. Oxford House is first and foremost a residence where I and the other elected members of the house live and actively work a program of recovery from drug and/or alcohol abuse. We adhere to a policy of complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs that are not prescribed by a licensed medical professional. We support and encourage each other to attend 12-step meetings, to obtain a sponsor and to work a program that it is uniquely tailored to each person. Our household is financially self-sustaining and the members are required to participate in the management and decision-making processes that are inherent in the effective running of a recovery residence. Violation of established rules may result in a member being placed on probation or immediate expulsion, depending on the nature and circumstance(s) of the violation. These principles and their application in our house support the assertion that Oxford House has effective policies, procedures and internal controls in place to ensure that our House continuously meets and/or exceeds the prescribed standards needed for certification as a recovery residence in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During my residency at Oxford House - Williamsburg, I have experienced a period of sobriety that I was unable to achieve in 20 years of active addiction. Due to my sobriety, I currently practice a program of recovery, continuously build lasting personal and professional relationships and am having a career renaissance of sorts, due to my ability to reliably solicit, execute and deliver work products to my clients. Most importantly, I'm now a law-abiding productive member of society and, without Oxford House, I may very well have ended up as a casualty of this disease, like so many of our friends and family members. Make no mistake, Oxford House saves lives and it saved mine. I implore you to continue to recognize Oxford House as a certifying entity for recovery residences in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Respectfully, Millard B. Souers, Jr. Williamsburg, VA

Last Name: Mark R Organization: Oxford House Locality: Vienna

Oxford House has given me many oppurtunities, But Most importantly it has saved my life, While I have expereinced work with Oxford House and performed duties on many committies, Been to many Oxford Conventions, I can say I have seen and heard many success stories from Oxford House including my own. I came to Oxford from Detox, no where to go, no money in my pocket, no job, no real friends. and the clothes on my back. It was a humbling fresh start. as I grew with the house, I grew to make friends in the NA/AA Program, who guided me in my road back, In the years I have been involved with Oxford, I have seen many success stories as well. Men & Women Starting over to go on and leave the nest, become successful in their own life endeavors some started families, some have amazing careers but all of them will tell you, None of them could have done it without Oxford. The rules are simple, Don't Use, Drugs or Drink Alcohol, Pay your own way, Respect your fellow man, and Clean Up after yourself. While most people will say that sounds simple enough, for a recovering drug addict or alcholic it may seem to be a challenge. But we have each other to remind each other of simple things like that until it becomes second nature. Putting in a "House Manager" does take away from the spirit of learning to live life on your terms, learning to be responsible for yourself, and holding yourself to a higher standard than you would have if you have someone breathing down your neck. House Managers remind people of Rehabiltation Centers, or Detox Facilities, which will discourage members from heading into a Oxford House, often encouraging them to head to other places which will lead to a dead end. Vote No.

Last Name: Roberts Organization: Wesleyan Oxford house Vienna VA Locality: Vienna

I am a very grateful recovering addict and would not have the opportunities I have if it wasn't for the Oxford House organization I've met incredible friends lifelong friends and it's been a wonderful experience being in a home with people that are going through the same struggles as myself. Please do not pass this bill as I believe it will do a large disservice to recovering addicts and alcoholics everywhere. In this day and age we need all the help we can get. Oxford houses provide a platform for many people to get back on their feet. Not to be over dramatic but it probably saved my life. Please do not pass this bill I believe it will do more harm than good

Last Name: Rider Organization: Oakdale Park Oxford House Locality: Vienna

My name is Christopher Rider and the Oxford house has saved my life. It also lets you feel how real life works because there is no Manger to govern how you live your life. Without a manager it really lets you live life like a regular person so you can make the transition from being in treatment to being on your own. If I wanted to be critiqued on every little thing I do then I would go to a in-house treament program. I have 117 days sober and I owe most of it to Oxford. Sincerly, Christopher Rider

Last Name: McCormack Organization: Oxford House Inc Locality: Fairfax

Hello Represenative My Name is John and I am a recovering Alcoholic and a resident of an Oxford House in Northern Virginia. Being a member of an Oxford House has truly given me my dignity as a contributing member of my Oxford House. The Oxford House mode in essance is about having a voice in how things are done to keep the house I live in going. We interview and accept who comes into the house and if a relapse occures house members have a meeting and vote to expell the member. The model has proven with a lot of supportive data to be working since 1975. I beg you to listen to the members of Oxford House who will testify that being self supporting member of an Oxford House has provided a path to a lasting sobriety . Thank you John McCormack VSA Chair Chapter 1 Treasurer O.H. Fairhill Fairfax VA

Last Name: F Chris Organization: Oxford hourse Locality: Fairfax

Oxford House has been a proven success model since 1975 when members of a Managed house found out their house was closing and they decided they can run it themselves, here we are 47 years later, and still have one of the most sucessful worldwide organizations, Oxford house has helped Millions, with plenty of success stories. Not only In Virgina, but worldwide. If it isn't broke why try to fix it? I have been a member of Oxford House since 2020, In my late 30s starting over, I was successful and of good earning capacity before Oxford, but I had a problem with alcohol, and it cost me everything. Years of irresponsibility led me to a Rehabilitation center with no where to go. Oxford took a chance on me. But it didn't come without expectations, instead of being like a uncondtional girlfriend who would take care of me in my ill mannered ways. I was held to standards of living to include paying my own way, cleaning up after myself, maintaining my living space, and most importantly, being supportive of my live in peers. and maintaining sobriety because the results would be detrimental if I did not. Oxford House also teaches responsibility, maturity and accountability to the recovering addict who may never had had those experiences before, such as managing a checkbook, handling money and being trusted by your peers. Holding others accountabl as well as yourself. It prepares you for life beyond the sober living enviroment While you look at the bright side of this bill, SOmeone will get their benefit from it, a corporation, who pays individuals to micromanage houses. Which will be detrimental in many ways. Individuals will grow frustrated and leave managed houses long before their ready, leading to relapses, incarceration or even death. It will also discourage recovering addicts and alcholics to stay in this community and flee to other states where democratically ran houses are permitted. Oxford house is in 48 states. Worst of all it will destroy the recovery community that VA has created and leave recovering addicts with no choice but to go elsewhere for support. While the merit behind the bill is understanding the results of the bill will be devastating

Last Name: Brunjes Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

Please vote NO to HB277 and SB622. Back in October, I entered a detox/rehab facility. Since then I have been to a detox center, rehab center and the Behavioral Department of a Hospital. After successfully completing the program I needed some place to stay. The rehab center was instrumental in placing me into an Oxford house. They provided me the referrals I needed to land a spot in several Oxford house. I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for the Oxford house.

Last Name: Grossman Organization: Community Solutions Locality: Norfolk

To Whom It May Concern: As the Owner of Community Solutions, a licensed ASAM 3.1 residential program (Clinically Managed Low Intensity Residential Service) in Hampton Roads, I am writing in support of the services offered by the Oxford Houses operated in Hampton Roads. For the past 3 years our program has referred several of our program graduates to a variety of Oxford Houses in this area. The Oxford House community has proven to be an excellent resource for clients new to sobriety who can benefit from a supportive and structured environment. These homes provide residents with the opportunity to get back on their feet economically and emotionally and gain traction in their recovery. All of our referred clients report that Oxford representatives are customer friendly and welcoming to the new house. The additional feedback we receive is that these residences provide a safe and optimal environment to make new friends, avoid isolation and live with peers who have experienced similar challenges. It is also affordable for individuals who enter the home with severe economic challenges. The fact that residents are required to attend 4-5 AA or NA meetings per week when living in the program is an additional benefit for newly recovering individuals. In one instance one of our graduates became the House President of his Oxford House and he reported great satisfaction in carrying out the required duties associated with that position. I've had the opportunity to interact and get to know administrative personnel from both the male and female homes and I was impressed by their commitment to the house residents and their passion for the work they do. It is my observation based on numerous conversations with residents that living in an Oxford House offers residents an excellent opportunity to live a sober and rewarding lifestyle while establishing healthy relationships with fellow residents. Community Solutions will continue to work closely with Oxford Houses to build on our existing constructive partnership.

Last Name: reese Organization: Oxford Houses Inc. Locality: Vienna

The Oxford House Has saved my life and gives me a place to live and be held accountable for my actions.

Last Name: Jobe Organization: Oxford House - Kyber Locality: Lynchburg

Hello, my name is Travis. I am a residing member at Oxford House - Kyber in Lynchburg Virginia. I am a person in long term recovery, my clean date is June 15, 2017. Oxford House and it’s strict model of operation as a recovery residence paired with members as peers running the house I originally started in set the standard for myself in a safe and sober home. Since moving into the first house, I have moved 6 times to help open Oxford Houses in Virginia. Oxford Houses model has taught me how to have a checking account, how to live as an adult, how to manage everyday situations, as well as how to be a functioning member in society. Oxford Houses model of operation gives members the ability to make decisions together as a group. As a house, we all pay our house bills… learning how to pay utility bills and rent to a landlord. The Oxford House model of operation was created in 1975 to allow persons wanting long term recovery to have a safe place to do so. The model of operations is one that makes safety and security in sobriety a number one priority. This bill ultimately will take away beds for potential recovering addicts and alcoholics in the state of Virginia forever. Also not allowing referral agencies the ability to refer clients to safe and sober recovery homes like Oxford House. Capping the bed count to eight would hinder homes in areas like Northern Virginia, where the only options are Oxford Houses. In closing, evidence shows that the model performs well today, just as well as it did in 1975 when it was created. Recovery residences are needed, why potentially abolish 75% of the beds in the state?

Last Name: Colvin Organization: Oxford House- Serenity Park Locality: Winchester

I would like to personally give my testimony! If it weren't for Oxford House Serenity Park Women's and Children's Home in Winchester , VA . I don't know where myself or my 2 year old daughter would be. I've struggled with addiction issues off and on for 25 plus years. I was introduced to the Oxford Model in 2014 for the first time an fell in love with it. These homes provide a safe clean environment for addicts seeking recovery. The model teaches us how to be accountable for ourselves and each other It teaches us how to pay bills, for some of us it's the the first real thing to be proud of. We keep our home and rooms clean, we often have family night where we cook dinner for the whole house and talk about our week. We learn for the first time what it's like to have someone who cares. We don't allow each other to fall and slip through the cracks. We build each other up. Another addict can truly understand and help another addict. Yes it's very likely someone will relapse in a Oxford House however the model helps members hold each other accountable. It's not always a revolving door. Different people every couple weeks. We actually rebuild our lives inside the walls of these homes something we had long thought wasn't possible. If it weren't for Serenity I don't think I would have had the second chance I did with my baby. I found hope with my fellow roommates, if I'm having a bad day I have several women to talk to. Im not ALONE! Many of us have burnt bridges with loved ones and these home's give us a second family in a sense. It's affordable and it's a step in the right direction thats needed to rebuild our lives. I'm going into my 80th day clean/sober and I owe it to Oxford House Serenity Park, my roommates for calling me on my behaviors that woukd typically lead me back out to relapse if left alone to my own vices. My first time around eventually helped move into my own place I became a productive member of society and stayed sober/clean for a few years. I relapsed shortly after my child was born and decided after rehab that Serenity would be a great opportunity for me an my daughter. Having that extra hand to help with her if needed, someone to ask me if everything is okay, help me learn how to slow down and learn the basics again. This home has given me a new out look on life again. It's building up the parts of me that I had lost along with working my 12 step program I owe my life to the Oxford Model. This home and countless others across Virginia help addict who need a second, third sometimes forth chance to just get it right.

Last Name: Pratt Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax County, Annandale

I have lived in a Oxford house since getting out of "A New Beginning", a residential treatment facility. I believe that you need to transition back into life ,learning how to live life soberly, Its' not suppose to be like a correction facility. It's purpose is to give the individual personal responsibility and Oxford House - Annandale does that for me. Holding me accountable and learning to hold others accountable will help me in life. Please help us keep our recovery home and vote NO TO HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: Porter Locality: Winchester

Having a viable sober living housing option in my early recovery, such as an Oxford House, was instrumental to my success in a new healthy lifestyle. I am 14 years sober and my first 6 months was residing at an Oxford House following a recovery center in Winchester. I am grateful for my Oxford experience which helped me to be accountable for myself and to help others in their accountability as well. I would oppose anything that would be detrimental to Oxford as it exists today.

Last Name: Almond Organization: Oxford House Birdie Locality: Lynchburg

I have lived in Oxford House Birdie for a year now and this place has changed my life! For the first time ever I've stayed clean longer then a couple of months and I owe it all to Oxford and their accountability as well as helping me learn to be self sufficient. I've also had the same job since I've moved here and have been recognized and promoted. Oxford has helped mold me into the person I used to wish to be. And now I am living my dream, sober and happy.

Last Name: Hughes Locality: fairfac county

Comments Document

see attached document

Last Name: Egan Organization: Oxford House - Annandale Locality: Annandale - Fairfax County

Comments Document

see attached

Last Name: Patricia M Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax County

Through the years I had tried to stay sober but always failed. I entered my first Oxford House in 2019 in Northern Virginia. I have been sober now for 3 years. Oxford House has saved my life! Without these Oxford Houses and the model we follow that has proven it has worked so many, the house rules and the accountability we hold each other to is why I am still here today. SAY NO TO THESE BILLS PLEASE HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: Hagerup Locality: Frederick County

As someone who has had vast experience in the recovery and addiction world, I KNOW how important an oxford house can be for someone's recovery. Too often, we see people--our friends and love ones--go back to their previous living situation, and they end up falling back into a relapse, or they die. I'm not being dramatic. If you knew a third of the people that have relapsed and died because they wasn't access to an oxford house, you would NEVER consider passing this bill. As an addict, I know that my first tendency is to buck at authority. I push back and I will cut off my nose to spite my face-EVERY TIME. Oxford houses work for people like me because it is literally "a jury of my own peers," for lack of a better phrase. I am 100% more likely to listen to a group of women (in my case) who AREN'T being paid to live with me. They have no agenda or ulterior motive. Why would I listen to someone whose main goal is to enforce rules? I needed to be able to stretch my wings as I discovered who I was without the drugs and alcohol, and that is something that an oxford house provides. I cannot stress this enough, that without the many oxford houses throughout Virginia, you will end up losing so many people to their addictions. People won't feel comfortable if there is someone lording over them, they won't live in these recovery houses like they live in an oxford house.

Last Name: Robison Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax County

Oxford has saved my life. I couldn't maintain my sobriety until I came to Oxford. Living with people who help hold each other accountable has helped me become a responsible person and take responsibility for my actions. This is because of the model we follow Thanks to Oxford I am rebuilding my life back. I say NO to this bill.

Last Name: Denney Organization: Oxford House -Birdie Locality: Lynchburg

Oxford house has given me my life back , in other words saved my life ! Before coming here I was homeless, and even suicidal , they welcomed me with open arms , this is my family, a family I never had ! I've been clean a year now , with Oxford house being the foundation of my network !

Last Name: Craythorn Organization: Oxford House Locality: Herndon, Fairfax County

I would like to share my story with you. I am a sober 49 year old female attorney who was living in my car for 6 months during Covid. I felt safer in my car than being in a shelter where there are drunks and addicted people. I have PTSD from rape and assault. People who drink and use are very triggering for me. I was accepted into a woman’s Oxford House where I could be safe with other sober women. It was in Oxford that I had enough safety and space that I could seek medical care and counseling. I owe my survival to Oxford Houses of Northern Virginia. They gave me a safe space to breath.

Last Name: Jamerson Organization: Oxford House -Birdie Locality: Lynchburg

I was recently incarcerated for Five years , and Oxford House has given me a chance to get back on my feet , my second chance !

Last Name: Sylvia Muncy Organization: Oxford House Locality: City of Fairfax

I have been residing at Oxford House - Hunter Street since August 2016. It has helped with me with maintaining my sobriety, the house rules that we enforce hold me accountable for my actions and gives me a safe place to live. It is an amazing organization and without it I don’t know where I would be today. I count myself extremely fortunate to be part of the Oxford House family. I what others to have the same opportunity to change their life. Oxford House saves lives. NO TO HB277 AND SB622

Last Name: Clark Locality: Chesapeake

I oppose this bill moving forward. As a recovering addict and oxford alumni I can testify to how important the need for affordable/ accountable housing for the community. I am now a peer recovery specialist who is employed by a local treatment center. None of this would have been possible for myself if I hadn't had a safe , affordable , and accountable place to live. I was able to start putting my life together while living in an environment of recovery provided to me at an oxford house. . Being able to tell those that come to the facility ( rehab) that when they discharge they can find a safe place to stay instills hope that they too can change their life around.

End of Comments