City of Tempe cracking down on fraudulent sober living homes

The city is working to enact an ordinance to keep track of who’s in these homes and how many are in a neighborhood.
Published: Oct. 5, 2023 at 4:30 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — It’s a problematic trend in Arizona. Fake sober living homes are claiming to help people, but instead, they’re cashing in on their addictions and scamming patients out of hundreds of dollars. “If they can grab somebody that they can put in these homes and use them to file insurance through AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), they can get about 80 to 90 thousand (dollars) conservatively from them each year,” said Tempe Councilwoman Doreen Garlid.

In May, Gov. Katie Hobbs announced that AHCCCS suspended payments to nearly 100 providers operating sober living homes that were suspected of fraud. Five months later, the list has more than doubled to over 300 providers. “The unfortunate thing is if you close one down in one city, it just pops up in another city,” Garlid said.

Garlid is spearheading an initiative to team up with other Valley agencies and form a task force to see if they can come up with a solution. “We are working on city code ordinances to see if we can change or adjust to be able to help with us being able to move these sober living homes. Some of it is they are owned private property homes. We just can’t walk up to them,” she said. The new ordinance would help track who’s in these homes and how many are in a neighborhood.

While the city of Tempe is working toward tackling these phony homes, they are also asking for the community’s help. “We can’t be in every neighborhood and we can’t see everything. We need our community to be able to help us. So, if you see something, say something,” Garlid said. If you or someone you know is a victim, you’re asked to call 211. To view a list of registered providers, click or tap here.

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