About Recovery Housing

Recovery housing is an intervention that is specifically designed to address the recovering person’s need for a safe and healthy living environment. Recovery housing also supplies necessary recovery and peer supports. For more information about recovery housing, see SAMHSA’s Recovery Housing: Best Practices and Guidelines.

Recovery residences provide a safe and healthy living environment for people in recovery. They also provide recovery and peer supports. Recovery residences go by different names, like Oxford Houses, sober living houses, recovery homes, and halfway houses.

Recovery residences provide a wide range of different types of support. The National Alliance for Recovery Residences – NARR for short – has identified four types of Recovery residences which offer various levels of support.

Peer-run recovery residences: Recovery support in these residences is provided through mutual aid. They are called peer-run, because the residents run the households. Residents may engage in self-help meetings or treatment services, but they don’t have to. An example of this type of recovery residence is the Oxford House. To open an Oxford House, six or more people come together and apply for an Oxford House charter.

Monitored recovery residences: These are a lot like peer-run residences, but they have a house manager who oversees the operations of the household. That is why they are called “monitored” residences. The house manager may receive a salary, or may not have to pay for staying in the residence. An example of this type of recovery residence is the California sober living house model.

Supervised recovery residences: These residences often have a number of staff members who offer different types of recovery support services. Services might include recovery coaching, recovery wellness planning, support groups, and life skills trainings. They also involve mutual aid.

Treatment providers: In addition to mutual aid and other recovery support services, treatment recovery residences provide clinical services and programming within the residence itself. An example of this type of care is the Therapeutic Community (TC) model. Although peers are integral to this model, TCs have licensed staff providing services to residents, and the residences must have a license from the state to operate.

NARR has developed a national standard for recovery residences. State-wide Affiliates of NARR inspect and certify that member residences are operating in accordance with the NARR Standard. In addition, clusters of local Oxford Houses form mutually supportive chapters so that houses can monitor each other.