Apartments Require Drug Test 

Apartments Require Drug Test 
Posted by FoM on June 09, 2000 at 14:31:25 PT
By Lucio Guerrero & Liz Vivanco, Staff Reporters 
Source: JSOnline
When the Belle Shore and Bryn Mawr apartment buildings on the North Side were sold and were being renovated, neighbors saw it as a golden opportunity.An opportunity to make sure that the prostitutes and gang-bangers that used to hang around the 400 apartments never come back.
In the two years since people started moving back into the renovated buildings, the area has been transformed. The reason: drug testing of tenants, neighbors say.``It got to the point where I was afraid of going down the street,'' said Gerald Marcoccia, president of the Edgewater Beach Neighbors Association. ``We thought we could turn around the street and then the neighborhood with these two apartment complexes.''When prospective tenants ask for an apartment application, they are told about the drug test. The applicant pays $35 for a credit check, and the development company pays the $25 for the drug test. Tenants renewing leases must be retested. Urine samples are checked for cocaine, marijuana, heroin and amphetamines.Testing seems to have worked. Neighbors near Bryn Mawr and Kenmore avenues are happy to be rid of the crime, tenants are happy to live in a safe environment, and developers are happy that their multimillion investment is a hit.``It's an excellent idea. It's no offense. If a person is doing drugs, then they might have problems paying the rent,'' said Lee Johnson, 28, who has lived at Belle Shore for about 18 months. ``One person who uses drugs brings another person, brings another person, and they start selling it in the building. It brings the neighborhood down.''The buildings, with a mix of low- and middle-income tenants, are almost full, said officials with Holston Management Corp., the building owners. Tenants rights officials say the drug testing could lead to problems. ``Something like this could be used as a discriminatory tool by landlords,'' said John Bartlett, who coordinates the tenants rights program for the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. ``What it does is provide more and more barriers on someone trying to find an apartment. And you find that many of these barriers are going to be targeting the lower income tenants.''Building managers say they test everyone--including an 82-year-old woman.There have been reports of a few buildings in the country requiring drug tests, but Bartlett said he has not heard of another in Chicago.Published: June 9, 2000Copyright 2000, Digital Chicago Inc. Cannabis & Drug Policy Information: Justice Archives: Drug Testing Archives:
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Comment #2 posted by cd1 on June 13, 2000 at 07:47:16 PT
Drug Users
I pose the following questions: Is anyone that fails the drug test automatically assumed to be a gang-banger and/or a prostitute (as indicated in the second paragraph)? If someone applying for residence fails the drug test, what assurances is there that this information will not be provided to the police? This actually smells of discrimination against people of color. I would be interested to see if the tests are given "at random" or to everyone applying. Will alchohol be subjected in the test? (Or don't gang-bangers and prostitutes use alchohol?) Even though I don't use drugs, I would never apply for a residence in an apartment that invades my privacy, such as this. What is next? "Random" visits by apartment security? Opening of tenants mail? All in the name of keeping "Gang Bangers and prostitutes" out of apartments. 
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on June 09, 2000 at 23:57:10 PT:
Fine, You're not the only apartments in town
Frankly,I don't object to this strategy. The only comment I have is in reference to the following quotation: "If a person is doing drugs, then they might have problems paying the rent"If people want to conduct drug tests before accepting new applicants for apartments, fine. But to insinuate that all marijuana users cannot fulfill their obligations regarding rent payments is absurd. To refuse apartments to all marijuana users is a ridiculous oversimplification of the drug issue. Frankly, I am writing this post under the influence of some powerful alcohol. I can personally attest to that fact that marijuana has never been so debilitating as the alcohol under which I am currently writing. I have experienced both marijuana intoxication and alcohol intoxication, and I can render a verdict without question: marijuana helps me think; alcohol keeps me from experiencing pure thought processes. I do like the high I get from alcohol, but I know that I will have a headache in the morning from drinking too much alcohol. If I were to be smoking marijuana, in the morning my head would be clear, and I would still be wondering why the American government gives mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana while accepting the individual's right to chose whether to use alcohol. I know now, without doubt, that the American government is in favor of alcohol abuse (and against marijuana use) because the American government wants Americans to be too stupid to challenge the current war on drugs. Marijuana use leads to too much intelligent discussion. OKay, I guess I've argued myself into a corner. My real stance is as before: marijuana use is not something to discriminate against--especially when alcohol abuse is accepted--even encouraged--by the American government. I believe that marijuana use should be not only accepted, but encouraged. At least then we could have a rational foundation for rejecting harder drugs, like the alcohol I have (quite legally) ingested before writing this post.
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