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NOTICE: Applications for Certifications are paused until April 1st 2024.

ORH is transitioning to a new certification application system to provide a high-quality experience for operators so they can move through the certification process more easily. Consequently, ORH is pausing accepting new applications until 4/1/2024.

Basic Eligibility

The preliminary certification is designed for operators of recovery housing who are interested in full certification, but who do not meet the requirements of 60% occupancy for at least 60 days.  However, you must have

  1. Established policies and procedures that are ready to be reviewed by ORH

  2. A property that is ready to have residents move in

The review process is for recovery homes that meet the definition of recovery housing by OhioMHAS.  Key elements of recovery housing include: 

  • Illicit Drug and Alcohol Free Living Environment

  • Recovery Housing is NOT treatment (residents have free choice in providers, housing is separate from treatment)

  • Resident Driven Length of Stay 

  • Peer Support and Recovery Supports 

  • Homelike environment

Starting January 1, 2023 organizations must list all recovery housing properties on their application for certification.  If organizations are operating properties that do not meet quality standards, they must be working in good faith to have those properties meet the quality standards in order to maintain overall certification as an organization.  Working in good faith means that there is an approved plan in place to bring the property up to the quality standards and achieve certification.  ORH will work with each operator on an individual basis to form such plans.  

Step 1: Determine What Level of Recovery Housing You Operate

The first step to becoming an ORH Associate is to determine what level of recovery housing you operate.  Your recovery house level is mainly based on what level of support you offer, what type of staffing and/or oversight your house has, and if you offer formal programming at the recovery house.

Take this INTERACTVE SURVEY to determine your recovery house level. 

Step 2: Review the National Quality Standards and Code of Ethics

The next step is to become familiar with the National Quality Standards as well as the Code of Ethics.  The application process is designed to verify that your organization is meeting these standards.  You are also expected to adhere to the Code of Ethics.  

You are encouraged to contact Ohio Recovery Housing with any questions about the quality standards prior to submitting your application.  

Step 3: Sign Assurances

You are required to have the following assurances document signed and notarized.  This document needs to be signed by the person in your organization who is authorized to sign agreements and documents. 

This document clarifies that the Ohio Recovery Housing review is a review of your organization's recovery environment.  It is your responsibility as an organization to ensure that you are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and codes.  It is also your responsibility to ensure that your organization carries appropriate insurance for your operation.  

When you sign this documentation, you are attesting that you have contacted the appropriate entities, have completed all appropriate inspections, that you are registered appropriately, and that you currently following all business, fiscal and reporting policies as required by the law and your organization. 


Submitting the signed assurances prior to engaging in any of these activities will be considered submitting false information to Ohio Recovery Housing and a  violation of the NARR Code of Ethics.  

Step 4: Complete Online Application

After you have become familiar with the Quality Standards and the Code of Ethics, your organization may submit an application.  The organization responsible for the operations of the house is the organization that must apply for ORH certification.  

The application must be submitted using the following on-line form.  Ohio Recovery Housing will communicate with you using the phone number and e-mail address that you list on the application.  

This application will ask you which properties have been open and operating for at least 60 days at 60% occupancy.  Homes that do not meet this requirement will be eligible for preliminary certification.  

This application will require that you upload copies of specific documentation.  The documentation requested will vary depending on the level of housing that you operate, the target population you seek to serve, and what specific services you offer. 


At minimum, you will be required to upload the following documents into your application.   Additional documents may be requested by ORH. 

  • Resident Application

  • Resident Agreement

  • Statement of Resident Rights

  • Grievance Policy

  • Medication Policy

  • Good Neighbor Policy

  • Emergency Policy

  • Communicable Disease policy

  • Written House Rules

  • Policy on Paid Work Agreements

  • Drug Testing Policy

  • Other documents as appropriate for your level of housing, target population, and specific services provided

ORH is available to provide you with technical assistance and support as you develop policies and procedures.  You may contact us at 614-453-5133 or  

We request that you seek technical assistance and ask questions about documents prior to submitting your application.

If it is determined that your documents are incomplete or do not meet quality standards you will be allowed an opportunity to make quality improvements.  However, you will be required to make these improvements within a strict timeline.  If you are unable to make the improvements within the timeline, your application will lapse.   

Step 5: Application Review

A representative from ORH will review your application, as well as the documents you submitted with your application.  

ORH will inform you of the results of this review within 15 business days (about three weeks).  ORH will read all of the documents you submit, and will use the documentation checklists to ensure that the documents contain all required elements.  ORH will send you a formal communication if we have any questions, require you to submit additional documents, or if you are required to make quality improvements to your policies.  

You are required to respond to this communication with answers to questions, copies of any missing documents, or any quality improvements within 20 business days (about one month).

If you do not respond to ORH within the required time frame, your application will lapse.  Your response must be complete and address all questions and quality improvement recommendations.  

ORH will review any response your organization provided within 10 business days.  ORH will determine if your application and documents are complete at this time.  If your documentation and application are still determined not to be complete your application will lapse.  

Once it is confirmed that your application and documentation is complete, ORH will send you an invoice for your Associate Fees.  

Fees are based on total capacity of all of the houses that you would like to be certified by ORH.  This includes all full certification properties as well as preliminary certification properties.  More information about what is included in Associate Fees can be found at the link below.

The review includes a one-day on-site review.  If your properties are unable to be reviewed in a single day (organizations that have more than 5 properties or properties that are a significant driving distance apart) ORH may charge an additional fee to cover the additional expense of a second day of reviews.  You are welcome to contact ORH for a quote prior to submission of your application.  

If you submit payment by check, please make checks payable to:

Ohio Recovery Housing

17 S High Street

Suite 799

Columbus, OH 43215

You may also make a payment online.  Associate fees are non refundable.  

The links below provide more information on what is included with associate fees and a link to make your payment online.  

Step 6: Payment of Onsite Visit Fee

Step 7: On-Site Interview & Dwelling Review

After we receive payment of your fees, ORH will schedule an on site review.  

One ORH staff person and one ORH peer reviewer will perform the review.  

The Ohio Recovery Housing staff person will be there to ensure that all important topic areas are covered, be available to answer any questions you have about the quality standards, and be sure all paperwork is complete.  Any official recommendations or requirements will be communicated to you by the ORH staff member.  

The Ohio Recovery Housing peer reviewer will be there to share information and advice as a fellow peer operator.  The peer reviewer will also provide insight and share their opinion and recommendations to ORH staff concerning what quality improvement recommendations are needed.  ​

The reviewers will examine the physical dwelling.  Reviewers are not fire inspectors or building code inspectors.  Reviewers will be examining the recovery environment and ensuring the property meets the national quality standards.  

During this review you should be prepared 

  1. Show reviewers where required documents are kept in each of the houses

  2. Show the reviewers the property.  ORH will look at all common areas of the house as well as resident rooms.  

  3. To demonstrate that written policies and procedures are being implemented in practice

  4. To demonstrate that the house is clean, safe and home-like.  Reviewers should be able to see that house chores are being completed and that maintenance requests are addressed.  

  5. The bedrooms meet space requirements (70 square feet for the first person and 50 square feet for each additional person) 

  6. To demonstrate that the house has required safety equipment (such as smoke detectors in each sleeping room, CO2 detectors in homes with gas appliances, and fire extinguishers)

  7. To demonstrate how the physical environment of the house contributes to a family like environment in the home

  8. That there is enough food storage space for residents, including one full sized refrigerator per five residents 

Step 8: Implement Required Quality Improvements 

After the on-site review Ohio Recovery Housing will provide you with an official communication within 10 business days.  This communication will list of any required quality improvements that your organization needs to engage in prior to your application being considered by the board of directors.

You will be required to respond to these recommendations within 20 business days.  You may either respond by engaging the required quality improvement activity and providing appropriate documentation that quality improvement activities have been implemented or by providing ORH with a written response detailing how your organization meets the national quality standards without engaging in the required quality improvement activity.  

If you do not respond to ORH within required time lines ORH will make a recommendation on your application based on the information we have available.  

In some cases, ORH may require a second on-site review in order to verify quality improvement recommendations have been implemented.  If a second review is required, ORH will require your organization to pay a second on-site review fee of $450.  You can avoid payment of this second fee by ensuring your property is ready for an onsite review.

Step 9: Approval by ORH Executive Committee

Once ORH has received a response from your organization concerning any required quality improvements, ORH will make a recommendation concerning your application to the ORH Executive Committee of the ORH Board of Directors.  

The Executive Committee  will take a vote to approve or deny your application.  In rare cases, the board may also decide not to take an official vote on the application, and instead request more information from the applicant.  

The Executive Committee meets once a month.  

ORH will communicate with you the determination of the board of directors. 

Step 10: Full Certification

The preliminary certification is good for six months.  At the end of six months, you are expected to have at least 60% occupancy for 60 days.  If you do not yet meet this requirement, you may request an extension from ORH. 

At the end of six months, you will contact ORH and request a follow up visit and secondary review for full certification.  You can do this by submitting an email to ORH. 

At this time, ORH will arrange a second on-site visit to your property.  At this visit, ORH will ask you questions about how things have been going for the past six months, any changes you have made to your program during that time frame, and do another review of the physical dwelling now that it is at an appropriate capacity.  

Similar to the preliminary certification, ORH will communicate with you any quality improvement recommendations that we may have.  You will be provided an opportunity to address these recommendations.  

Once you have addressed the recommendations, the ORH Executive Committee will take a vote to approve or deny your application for full certification.  If approved, your full certification is for two years.  You will engage in the recertification process to have your properties recertified after two years.  

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