Operators of recovery residences (they hope forever to discard the terms “sober homes,” “halfway houses,” and numerous other confusion-generating labels) are earning respect as part of the continuum of care and are claiming a place at the policy table. That doesn’t mean many still aren’t facing numerous obstacles to their continued development—or in some cases their outright existence.
As I had the opportunity last week to meet with many of these pioneering leaders at the Washington, D.C., conference of the new National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR), it became obvious that these individuals face many of the same barriers that beset the recovering individuals they serve. In many communities, high-quality recovery residences face enemies in both government and business: local politicians who kowtow to NIMBYism and seek to enact onerous regulations in the name of “code enforcement,” but also other home operators who ignore professional standards and thereby place their tenants in severe danger of relapse.
These threats, of course, help explain why NARR came to be in the first place. The May 9-11 conference featured information on the levels of service that NARR has adopted as a national standard for recovery residence operations; advice for some operators in attendance on how to organize recovery residence owners at the state level and how to fight to enforce fair housing protections; and outreach to other national groups in the addiction services community in order to establish working partnerships.
Addiction professionals and the groups representing them should welcome this new opportunity to align with those who seek to guarantee secure, stable housing for individuals moving back into their communities after treatment.
Look for more coverage from us on the NARR meeting and on current issues affecting recovery residences, including in this Friday’s Addiction Professional e-newsletter.