Ohio Recovery Housing (ORH), officially established on September 19, 2014, is an organization dedicated to the development and operation of quality alcohol and drug-free living in a community of recovery for people with substance use disorders, and is an affiliate of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences in meeting the quality established by the NARR Standards.
Ohio has always outspokenly valued the power of peers in recovery living together with a commitment to sobriety. The Association of Halfway House Alcoholism Programs (AHHAP) was founded in 1968 with leadership from Ohio. This organization merged with NARR in 2013.
In the 1970s and 1980s, regional recovery housing organizations began to emerge across the United States. These organizations had an emphasis on standards and training, including the Ohio Alliance of Residential Recovery Services (OARRS) which began operating in Ohio.
In 2007, the State of Ohio received an Access to Recovery (ATR) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). This grant included resources to support alcohol- and drug-free housing and recovery supports, primarily in northeastern Ohio. In 2009, Ohio again played an important role in advancing the understanding of sober housing with the initiation of the SAMHSA’s Workgroup on Women, Sober Housing, and Treatment. In May 2011, this workgroup convened an in-person dialogue of organizations from throughout the United States who meet the housing and treatment needs of women and women-headed families and published key elements of housing for women and families with substance use disorders. Other stakeholders participating included the Corporation for Supportive Housing, State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS), and the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The resulting report added to the growing national momentum for greater recognition of recovery housing as a valued housing choice for people with substance use disorders.
In July of 2011, SAMHSA invited select participants from throughout the U.S. to participate in a facilitated dialogue on housing for people with behavioral health conditions. This supported SAMHSA’s newly identified priority of Home as part of their strategic plan. Ohio was represented at this meeting, which also included the founders of the National Alliance of Recovery Residences. This launched Ohio’s connection to NARR and the work to begin an Ohio Affiliate of the national organization.
HISTORY OF OHIO RECOVERY HOUSING
In early 2012, the Ohio Housing and Homeless Collaborative requested a presentation from The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers on housing for people with substance use disorders. Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH), Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS), and the Ohio Council began exploring policies and resources for housing for individuals and families with substance use disorders. ODMH and ODADAS announced that they would merge effective in July 2013, signaling an opportunity to look bring parity to Ohio’s policies and resources for housing for people with substance use disorders in the same way that Ohio had invested in housing for people with mental illness.
In October 2012, the Ohio Council, ODMH and ODADAS host the first dialogue on Sober Housing as a Recovery Support, engaging peers in recovery, providers, ADAMH Boards, and state government in exploring housing as a recovery support for people in recovery from addiction. ODMH and ODADAS commissioned the Ohio Council to conduct an environmental scan of recovery housing in Ohio.
In August 2013, the Ohio Council released Recovery Housing in the State of Ohio: Findings and Recommendations from an Environmental Scan. This is the first publication of its kind, and the document is widely used in Ohio and nationally for its complete literature review, identified themes, and policy and practice recommendations.
In October 2013, Ohio hosted our first statewide training on recovery housing with over 130 guests in attendance at the two day event. The event is co-hosted by Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), the Ohio Council, OARRS, and the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio (COHHIO). NARR attends event to consult with Ohio on organizing a state affiliate of NARR. In the autumn of 2013, the Ohio House of Representatives issued a report on Ohio’s opioid epidemic and identifies the importance of recovery housing. Ohio MHAS began convening regular Recovery Housing Resource Meetings. HB369 was introduced in Ohio House of Representatives and included policies on recovery housing and an investment to support the development of recovery housing throughout Ohio.
In February 2014, the Ohio Council invites group of diverse recovery housing providers from all parts of Ohio to participate in a Formation Committee to pursue the development of an Ohio affiliate of NARR. The Formation Committee begins meeting monthly and researching the work of other NARR state affiliates with the goal of creating an organizational structure and implementing quality standards in Ohio.
In June 2014, HB 483 of the 130th Ohio General Assembly was signed into law by Governor John Kasich on June 17, 2014. This legislation was groundbreaking in that it created a definition for recovery housing, expectations for the operation of quality recovery housing in Ohio, and an allocation for recovery housing.
In September 2014, OhioMHAS co-hosted Ohio’s 2nd Recovery Housing Conference along with the Ohio Council and COHHIO. Over 150 people attended the two-day event, learning about federal policy trends from the Deputy Director David Mineta of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and national best practices from Jason Howell, President of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). The conference also highlighted provider, housing and board collaborations that are working in Ohio. A legislative overview on recovery initiatives in the Ohio legislature was provided by Representative Lynn Wachtmann, Ohio House of Representatives, and Director Plouck provided an overview of accomplishments with Ohio’s recovery housing initiative to date. The Director also announced that the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers was selected to implement the Ohio Recovery Housing Standards and Supports project to cultivate the formation of an Ohio affiliate of NARR. The Council was selected from a pool of four applicants who responded to an Aug. 12 Request for Proposals. The second day of the conference highlighted the launch of Ohio Recovery Housing. The ORH Advisory Board introduced the quality standards and benefits of being an Associate.