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Stephanie Pellit

Associate, Policy and Advocacy

National Council Joins Others in Urging State Substance Abuse Agencies to Support Recovery Housing

May 18, 2017 | Addictions | Comments
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The National Council, alongside the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR), urged State Substance Abuse (SSA) directors to support recovery housing as part of their Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) program in a letter last week. Recovery residences are safe, healthy, and substance-free living environments that support individuals in recovery from addiction. Recognizing that recovery housing is an essential resource for helping individuals achieve long-term recovery, the National Council calls upon SSAs to invest Opioid STR funding in recovery housing and support recovery houses that uphold national recovery housing quality standards.

While recovery housing has existed since the mid-1800s, there has been no standard mechanism for determining and ensuring quality until recently. In 2011, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) developed an extensive set of quality standards to ensure that best practices are followed when operating a recovery residence. In the letter, the National Council explains how state governments can support the expansion of the recovery housing quality standards by:

  • Creating or supporting an existing NARR affiliate: NARR state affiliates are responsible for certifying recovery residences, but few states have fully operational affiliate organizations.
  • Providing technical assistance: Most recovery housing providers are small, community-based organizations with significant technical assistance needs and few available resources. Providing training and technical assistance is important to helping recovery housing providers, who may be unfamiliar with the existence of quality standards, come into compliance with nationally-recognized standards.
  • Prioritizing Funding or Referrals to NARR-Certified Homes and Oxford Houses: Some states have encouraged the adoption of recovery housing quality standards by making the receipt of state and local funds and/or referrals from addiction treatment providers dependent upon meeting quality standards. In states where the NARR quality review process is not available to recovery housing operators, policymakers should look to support recovery residences that adhere to other nationally-recognized recovery housing models, such as Oxford Houses.

Government support is critical to ensuring the availability of quality recovery housing options for people recovering from substance use disorders. Research shows that recovery housing residents have decreased substance use and incarceration rates; they also have increased income and improved family and social functioning, psychological well-being, and quality of life. Without the availability of flexible, supportive, recovery-focused housing options, people are less likely to recover from addiction and more likely to face continued issues that impact their well-being, families, and communities.


To read the letter, click here. The letter was accompanied by an issue brief which provides an overview of the definition and importance of recovery housing, evidence for recovery housing outcomes, cost-effectiveness of recovery housing programs, and recommendations for how states can support recovery housing and recovery housing quality standards.