Recovery Housing Basics
Defining Recovery Housing: There are several documented definitions of recovery
housing, and many are provided here for your reference. According to Ohio Revised Code Section
340.01 (A) (3), “Recovery Housing” means housing for individuals recovering from drug addiction
that provides an alcohol and drug-free living environment, peer support, assistance with obtaining
drug addiction services, and other drug addiction recovery assistance. [Effective 9/15/2016] (Read More...)
NARR Levels of Recovery Residences: NARR has established four levels of recovery residences that offer differing levels of care. Rather than serving as a linear, step-down continuum of services, the models meet the varying needs of people in recovery, allowing them to move in and out of the levels as needed, and as the resources are available. Each tier delineates the services and supports that are available to residents.
While recovery housing may encompass models outside of NARR’s four levels of recovery residences, this framework is useful for understanding the research base behind recovery housing. Each level of recovery residence provides peer-based recovery support with a varying range of structured and peer support services (e.g., in-residence case management, employment support, or life skills training) to meet the needs of residents. (Read More...)
Outcomes: Research on recovery housing shows positive outcomes and reflects all of the pieces that are needed to help a person regain stability, and the personal, social, and economic domains that are affected by addiction. While there are many studies, here are some findings of note: (Read More…)
Costs and Benefits of Recovery Housing: Studies attempting to calculate the economic costs and benefits of establishing recovery homes have overwhelmingly found that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Numerous other studies have evaluated other tangible outcomes for individuals living in recovery homes. (Read More…)
Definitions for Recovery Housing
Research on Recovery Housing
Sample Forms and Templates
ORH is working on developing sample forms and templates.
NARR Levels of Recovery Residences
Level I. Peer-run recovery residences, the most common being Oxford House, are democratically run by the residents and have no external supervision or oversight. Peer-run recovery residences offer residents the ability to determine which arrangements will most effectively meet their needs. For example, there are specific peer-run houses that allow children to reside with their parents. This housing is not closed to other residents; however, residents who prefer not to live with children do not have to accept entry into child-friendly homes. This housing also has the flexibility to make their own arrangements for medication management. Some may choose to restrict any opioids or prescription medications, limiting entry for individuals using opioid-assisted substance treatment (often referred to as Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT) or certain psychotropic medications. Other housing may specifically cater to people who use these medications (NARR, 2012). In essence, housing meeting the specific needs of different sub-populations exist: housing where specific languages are spoken, gender-specific housing, housing for men with children, housing for individuals of a similar age, housing for individuals with co-occurring disorders, and housing for individuals previously in prison (NARR, 2012). Additionally, some housing welcomes a range of residents, creating a more heterogeneous home environment.
Level II. Monitored residences, often called Sober Living Homes, have one compensated person on staff that serves as a house manager to monitor activities and screen potential residents (NARR, 2011). Sober Living Homes offer a structured environment with support services, predominantly facilitated by peer providers, for people in recovery to gain access to an interim environment where they can transition from rehabilitation environments to their former lives (Polcin, 2010). Sober Living Homes have shown favorable outcomes in research on sustained recovery when partnered with 12-Step Programs (Polcin, 2010).
Level III. The next level of recovery residences, supervised residences, offers a high level of support, with the goal of eventually transitioning residents to lower levels of support (NARR, 2012), or in some cases, to independent living. These programs have an organizational hierarchy that provides administrative oversight for service providers, which include certified staff and case managers, and a facility manager (NARR, 2011). Service providers are often partners from the community and not employees of the housing operator. Services provided in supervised residences are typically met in the outside community (NARR, 2011). Residents’ time is highly structured to support their current recovery needs; therefore it may not be reasonable to require residents to work, meaning they are often unable to financially contribute to the residence.
Level IV. The most structured and supervised level of recovery residences, service provider residences, as defined by NARR are often not thought to fit under the umbrella of recovery housing. Level IV treatment residences are overseen by an organizational hierarchy, provide primary medical treatment services by credentialed staff, are generally located in a more institutional environment, and are funded through mechanisms other than resident contributions, all of which distinguish Level IV residences from the traditional recovery housing model (NARR, 2011). Despite these differences, NARR has included Level IV in its model, recognizing the value of the services and residential safety they provide to individuals in recovery. Level IV residences are often the first step people make into recovery housing. In addition to medical services, there is also an emphasis on the development of life skills among residents (NARR, 2011). The services these institutions provide require financial support from outside entities, including federal, state, and private foundations, or through third-party insurance payers (NARR, 2012). Length of stay in these residences tends to be shorter, often due to cost and guidelines set forth by funding sources. Service provider populations often contain a large number of residents who have been referred from the criminal justice system, as an option either requested by the inmate or recommended when the facility in which they are housed is required to make a placement referral (NARR, 2012). In Ohio, Level IVs are residential treatment programs licensed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). These programs are eligible for Associate status with Ohio Recovery Housing, but evidence of licensure by the State of Ohio replaces an ORH quality review.
National Association of Recovery Residences. (2011). National Association of Recovery Residences: Standards for Recovery Residences. Retrieved from
National Association of Recovery Residences. (2012). A primer on recovery residences: FAQs from the National Association of Recovery Residences. Retrieved from
Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R. A., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). Sober living houses for alcohol and drug dependence: 18-month outcomes. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 38(4), 356-365. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2010.02.003