Sanctuaryhouse12's Blog

Another day at Sanctuary House, in Wilton Manors (Ft Lauderdale)

At the Sanctuary House, we are committed to providing a safe, caring and sober environment for men in recovery. We are committed to improving the lives of individuals who are ready to return to independence and to providing them with structure, stability; and the tools and confidence needed to live a life absent of alcohol and drug dependency. It is our goal to create awareness in the community through education and prevention programs and to maintaining the highest level of fiscal responsibility in all areas of service.


The Sanctuary House was founded in 2008 by Jared Cashner, a retired 17-year criminal court reporter and James Sanzeri, who saw the need for a transitional living facility specifically for men, with emphasis on gay men and their unique needs, after the death of his only sibling, at age 15, from drugs.  Now, he works to save lives.

The Sanctuary House sits on a sprawling acre of land in the heart of Wilton Manors, one of South Florida’s most heavily populated gay areas. It is made up of three buildings and can currently house 28 individuals. The facilities offer apartment-style living in a serene, tropical landscaped environment. Residents receive weekly random drug testing, nearby case management services, client advocacy, and HIV testing and counseling. Partnered with local hospitals and other non-profit groups, the Sanctuary House provides assistance to men with HIV and other health and mental health issues.

Constantly growing to meet the ever-changing needs of the community, the Sanctuary House now operates an emergency Food Bank, and provides a variety of education and prevention programs as well as support groups.  This what we do.

Something to celebrate

From the Desk of Jared Cashner, CCR, N.P.

It’s hard to believe that Sanctuary House is coming up on our third year assisting our community and to date, more than 160 men, since opening in December 2008.  As the only gay sober living facility in Florida, we’ve worked to improve the lives of those who simply have had enough of drugs and alcohol.  This pilot program has re-written the format by which many have taken notice at the innovative approach taken in the logistics of our program.  Additionally, Sanctuary House of S. Florida is proud to finally announce the purchase of our fourth building that will be dedicated to our lesbian community, again, attempting to impact another segment of our diverse community.  Sanctuary House is much more than a halfway house, but rather home to more than 40 members of the gay community.

Relapse prevention and those making a difference

The Hammer And Nails Of Sanctuary House
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 15:33 Written by Tony Adams
Have you ever pawned your wedding rings to pay someone else’s electric bill? Have you ever sold your beloved ’02 Thunderbird to house the homeless? Have you ever exhausted your retirement cash to continue your community service? There are two guys in Wilton Manors who can answer yes to those questions and have pawned their rings twice to keep 116 NW 25th Street afloat. In a town dedicated to dazed relaxation, there is much to admire in Jared Cashner, a retired court stenographer and son of a Kentucky coal miner, and James Sanzeri, a strikingly handsome 21 year old local man wise beyond his age, who have been a couple for two and one half years and are the founders and operators of the two year old Sanctuary House, a transitional residence providing sober and safe living for gay men in recovery.
Sanctuary House, one of the oldest structures in Wilton Manors and recently an abandoned crack house, is now a sprawling and comfortable collection of buildings on an acre of land that is divided into apartments each housing two or three men in shared bedrooms with common kitchens, baths, living space, gardens and a pool. Jared and James, who operate Sanctuary House without any other staff, live on the filled-to-capacity premises and are constantly forced to turn away applicants due to lack of space. (The size of the property would allow for the construction of several additional apartments should funds ever materialize.)
Jared and James are committed to helping gay men who are ready to return to independence and to providing them with structure, stability and the tools and confidence needed to live a life without alcohol and drug dependency. The minimum stay is three months and there are rules.
How and why would a retired stenographer and his very young partner, neither or whom have formal training as counselors or care-givers, establish a vibrant place like Sanctuary House? Jared explains “We had a friend who was down and out but willing to do some work for us. We were hesitant about inviting him to live in our home but rented him an apartment on NW 25th Street. He knew other men who had been through addiction and asked us if we could help them as well. We kept renting more space. That is how it began. Now we are partners with the Wilton Manors police, and with the local community service agencies, and with our residents’ case managers.”
Sanctuary House has rapidly grown by word of mouth among gay men needing assistance, and is such a desirable place to be that some straight men have falsely claimed to be gay trying to gain admission.
Jared and James approached the owners of the building, Steven and Andy Fisk of CitiFirst Mortgage of Hollywood, who helped them acquire it. Jared is grateful to them for their assistance. “They told us to give them whatever down payment we could manage and to make whatever monthly payments we could manage. They are extremely understanding about our circumstances, and they – and the whole neighborhood – are delighted with the transformation of the property.”
Some additional prying was needed to get these self-effacing men to discuss their personal lives that are the skeleton keys to Sanctuary House.
Jared fell into drug addiction following the hospitalization that led to his early retirement, and eventually was tried before a judge for whom he had once worked. She gave him back his life and he has kept his promise to stay clean. “I grew up in a very poor family. One of eleven kids. My mother was a stern woman and I guess the way I run this place makes me a lot like her. I’m strict about our rules. Mandatory 11PM curfew. No drugs or alcohol or sex on the premises. Random and regular testing. Group meetings. But my mother always put in an extra half acre of garden just to grow food to give away. She made us work that garden and taught us the value of helping those who need it.”
James, who grew up in Sunrise, lost a brother to addiction and has himself been through recovery twice. He met Jared through mutual friends and would not take no for an answer when Jarod repeatedly refused to date him. He soon brought him home to meet the folks.
Sanctuary House is at a critical juncture. James is its constant operations manager and Jared who works an additional job as a package courier is close to exhaustion and not without health problems. They receive no government funds but are in line for a HOPWA (Housing Opportunities For Persons With AIDS) grant if they can make some required improvements to the property. Their small board of directors includes police office Paul Nash who has been generous with his time, sometimes substituting for them as manager. (James and Jared have taken only one vacation, an overnight to a campground.) Attorney George Castrataro is providing pro bono help with the paperwork needed for 501c3 certification. Every piece of furniture, all the cabinetry, tiling and plantings are donations.
A brief tour of Sanctuary House with introductions to a few of its happy and hopeful residents will teach you the deeper meaning of gay pride which goes beyond waving rainbow flags to combat inequality and has more to do with the personal fight against the private demons that can ruin our lives were it not for men like Jared and James, who are not complaining when they say “We are the hammer and nails of this place, but we need some serious help.” In this season of Thanksgiving, please consider Sanctuary House. They won’t mind your visit and five minutes with these men will leave you eager to support their great work.
For more information,

Relapse prevention

Sanctuary House of S. Florida is the leader in South Florida for gay men in recovery.  Transitional living is an important part of the recovery process.

At Sanctuary House, we strive to produce a safe, sober, peaceful place for gay men in recovery.  It is important to locate and discuss your options with respect to choosing a place with an active program in the 12-step program, as well as resources in the local community

Drug Addiction Statistics

  • Studies show an estimated 20 million people are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
  • Approximately 135,000 people die each year as a consequence of drugs and alcohol.

Sanctuary House of S. Florida, Inc.

A Non-profit halfway house for men in recovery

116 Northwest 25 Street

Wilton Manors, FL 33311  (Part of Ft. Lauderdale)


Jared C. Cashner, CCR, N.P.

Executive Director

Relapse Prevention, getting past the hump.

In all the world, the “hump”, or the period where staying sober sinks in, is a line that for most, moves with the situation.  Think of it this way, it’s like a cake mix.  If you leave out even one ingredient, the cake, like sobriety will fall.

Jared’s Recipe for sobriety

One pound of determination

2 cups of honesty

and a big handful of willingness to live a different life.

It’s been my experience in the halfway house industry, here at Sanctuary House of S. Florida,  that many people are under the impression that two out of three “ain’t” bad.  WRONG, if items in your life are standing in the way of waking each day with the same determination that keeps us all functioning sober, then they must first be addressed.

Relapse Prevention 954-882-8363



Many people find they they can stay sober for short periods of time, but after awhile, they relapse.  A lot of people are chronic relapsers, staying sober for a month or a couple of months, only to begin the cycle of using again. For many, relapse is only a paycheck away.

Research shows that only 1 person out of 10 will stay sober a year or more after successfully completing a 28 day program.

We have seen many people relapse over the years. We have also seen many people succeed and stay sober. While those who stayed sober were different in many ways, such as race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc., they all had some things in common.

Those who maintained long-term sobriety attended 12 step meetings, lived in a structured sober house for 3-6 months after treatment, had a sponsor and engaged in sober activities in the broader community; activities such as volunteering.

The structure at Sanctuary House is based on years of experience learning by watching addicts in recovery.

If you would like to maximize your chances for long term sobriety, and enjoy your life while doing so, give us a call.  Sanctuary House may be just what you’re looking for.

Good Luck and Stay Sober!


Sanctuary House Fort Lauderdale


 click here to check out Ft Lauderdale!

At Sanctuary house, we believe addiction is a disease, not a moral deficiency. In order to heal from disease, what do we need?

We need support, healthy living, encouragement, positive, constructive activities, proper medical attention and spiritual engagement.

Sanctuary house is a unique, wholistic sober living house for gay men in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Residents come from all over the country to maximize their chances for recovery, and ultimately to re-establish an independent life, free from drugs and alcohol.

We help residents achieve this freedom and health in several ways. First, we are a gay men’s sober house, offering safety and refuge for gay men in recovery in an often homophobic world. Our house is located in Wilton Manors, a popular and active gay community in Fort Lauderdale. Within the surrounding neighborhood, there are many resources for gay men including a gay and lesbian 12 step meeting club (Lambda) The Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Poverello’s, Care Resource, Broward HouseMCC church, and many others.

Secondly, within the house, we offer a supportive environment that provides needed structure for early recovery. Residents are required to attend four outside 12 step meetings per week, and one in-house 12 step meeting. The house managers/owners live on-site and are available throughout the day to answer questions and offer support. Sanctuary house has a beautiful pool and yard area with a volley ball court, both of which are ways to begin the journey back to health, fitness and sober fun.

Thirdly, Sanctuary house encourages community ivolvement and networking. To that end, require residents to volunteer at a local agency or charity. Our goal is to help residents to cultivate safe, sober support systems to maximize ttheir chances for long term sobriety when they leave Sanctuary House to begin independent living again.

We will continue our discussion of programming at Sanctuary House in future blogs. Visit our site again for updates. Thanks for being with us!

Jared + James