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This predatory process is known on the street as "pimping out." "You're selling God's children for money," said Joseph Di Giovani, 36, a Kensington auto-repair worker and former drug addict.
For months, he said, the North Philadelphia recovery house where he lived – unlicensed and unregulated by the city, like 90 percent of such places — shuttled him out to a treatment center. Money comes into play, motives start to get twisted.
To be sure, many recovery house operators — as well as treatment center employees — are viewed by advocates as dedicated and caring individuals who battle heroin demons that endlessly plague their clients.
Stripped of basic rights, addicts are told by the people who run their boarding houses — called recovery houses — what facility to attend, when to go, and for how long.New Journeys in Recovery at 166 West Lehigh Avenue is one of about 215 drug treatment centers in the city.Boarding houses — called recovery houses — send drug addicts to the treatment centers, sometimes under threat of eviction, and some centers pay the houses kickbacks for addicts and then collect government disbursements, an illegal activity known as “pimping out.”ach day, through the streets of Kensington, Frankford, and North Philadelphia, hundreds of opioid addicts are forced to make a little-noticed commute.City officials "play into it," he said, and allow it to happen. People who are addicts are sold to the highest bidder." While the city acknowledges that "pimping out" occurs, David Jones, the acting commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual dis Ability Services, minimized the practice, saying just "a small sliver" of government money is misused. 29th Street, an agency run by Renee Payton with 12 recovery houses with around 100 residents.Though some have accused her of sending residents to treatment centers for kickbacks, she denies Payton sat at her desk in the storefront office of Women Walking in Victory & Empowered Men, the North Philadelphia agency she founded.