Recovery Residence Quality Standards

Recovery residences provide a spectrum of living environments that are free from alcohol and illicit drug use with a focus on peer support and connection to other recovery services and supports. All recovery residences are founded on Social Model Recovery Philosophy and have existed in the United States since at least the mid-1800s. Today, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) has identified several different types, known as the 4 Levels of Support. They range in the type and intensity of services they provide, which cost effectively matches individual needs with a continuum of support.

In 2011, NARR drew from the intelligence of the Association of Halfway House and Alcoholism Programs (AHHAP), which was founded in the 1960s, from several regional recovery residence organizations that had been in existence for decades, and from experts in the field of recovery to develop the first national recovery residence quality standards. Under the 2011 standard, NARR Affiliates certified over 2,500 recovery residences across the United States, which represented approximately 25,000 recovery beds. In 2013, NARR merged with AHHAP and by 2015, had recognized affiliate organizations in 20 states. State affiliates are responsible for certifying recovery residences that meet the national standard. At its 2014 Best Practices Summit, NARR began the process of reviewing and revising the national standard with several goals in mind.

The standard should:

Promote fidelity to the model
Over time, changing markets, policies, and funding have diluted the recovery residence model. Currently, health reform, justice reform and housing choice initiatives are driving market change. As stakeholders look to recovery residences to generate more cost effective outcomes, mechanisms must be in place to ensure the model is implemented in a way supported by outcomes, theory, research, and practice.
Be more educational
More than defining what we do as recovery residences providers, audiences should understand why we do it.
Be more measurable
Providers applying for certification and the state affiliates who are evaluating their applications should have an objective means of determining whether they meet the standard as well as a clear road map to quality improvement, if they do not.
Empower Choice
Peers, families and funders need a better way of understanding what choices in recovery residences are available to them, what to expect from an experience in a quality recovery residence, and how they know if they receive what they are paying for.