Families suffer from sober living failure

Hundreds seeking new places to live creates stress for family members
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 6:18 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The standoff between participants of a failed sober living program and the apartment hotel complex where they lived continues. The struggle for people at Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel is also affecting family members.

“He’s trying to live a better life and become sober,” Brenda Martinez said about her father.

But she said that the program using Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel as a sober living facility did little to help her father, who did not want to be interviewed for this story.

“No one’s ever going to get better in a poisoned environment. You have to leave that environment to get better,” she said about the current environment her father is living in at the complex, and what she suspected was happening during the program.

Last week a variety of services were at Ocotillo to assist those who need a new place to stay since the program, she says her father told her was called Happy Times, stopped paying Ocotillo. Police were there to keep things peaceful.

But her concern for her father does not mean he can live with her and her grandmother because he needs help and the struggle to deal with someone with addiction is more than Martinez can handle alone.

“If I get him in a good day, in a good mood, he’ll be willing to cooperate and if he’s not in a good mood he’ll just be like ‘leave me alone,’” Martinez explained about her father’s changing disposition.

That challenge underscores how finding another place to live isn’t enough for those needing sober living. They need structure.

“He has access to whatever drug substance that he uses, he has easy access with the people that live here because they don’t get help, either,” Martinez said.

Ocotillo management said off-camera last week that participants stayed there more than two months without payment and the program owes them $360,000. They said that they’re trying to get all non-paying occupants to vacate.

“They were getting paid to allow these people to live here and they’re no longer getting paid and it’s a business,” Brenda said.

Finding not just a place but the right place for her father only complicates Brenda Martinez’s task.

“It’s just very sad because now, because of that, other people are having to pay for this and they’re having to stay homeless and go out to the streets with this heat outside. And it’s not right,” she said.

Former program participants at Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel who need help finding shelter can call 877-931-9142.

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