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Questions About Recovery Housing?

Recovery Housing is not a new concept but it always lacked a sustainable business model… until now. Get insights into what it takes to run a recovery home and run it in a profitable way. These are the questions you should be asking.

One of the biggest challenges with recovery housing is zoning. Not because the home violates code, but at times you must educate neighbors, the planning board, or the zoning departments about what you're doing and not doing.

Remember, you are helping people who are in active recovery or who may have been discriminated against in the past, and they have the right to live in a nice, clean neighborhood. It takes time to educate the people around you on what recovery housing is because often, there's a stigma attached. It's our chance, our opportunity, to share that people who are in active recovery, people who need housing are just like you and me, deserve the support and help this home can offer.

One of the biggest pitfalls when getting your recovery home open is being told ‘no’ once and then giving up. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to educate the planning board, the zoning department, and even your neighbors about what you're really trying to do. Giving up too early is a common mistake when people want to get their recovery home started.

You can get the capital to get started in various ways. Options include a bank loan or, more preferably, an SBA loan, self-funding the project, or getting funding from investors.

Yes! Many government programs are available that will support your business, along with various government grants. Also, consider partnering with nonprofit organizations that will help support and fund the business.

There are various forms of group housing available for individuals with different needs. For instance, group homes can be for teens aging out of foster care or, solely for men, women, or veterans. Additionally, there are housing options available for older adults.

However, recovery housing caters explicitly to individuals dealing with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Recovery homes can be further specialized to serve specific groups, such as veterans or solely men or women.

With the variety of options available, the key to determining the right fit for you is finding what motivates you. Is it teens aging out of foster care? Is it veterans or women? Perhaps it is people suffering from SUD that need a place to go when they have nowhere else to turn? Or maybe your motivations are different. Maybe there's somebody in your life in a unique situation that you know of who could use housing like this. Perhaps an uncle, a brother, a sister, or an aunt. And this is an opportunity not just to help that person but grow your financial health as well.

Some residents will pay their own rent if they have a job and are active in the community. In other cases, residents may have a stipend. Those coming out of incarceration will get a stipend from one month up to six months of rent. Other times, you can work with nonprofit organizations such as rapid rehousing organizations looking to place people in homes, and they will pay you directly for the resident’s rent.

One of the big things you'll look for in a location is the size of the property. An ideal home will be slightly bigger and able to house 6 to 10 people.

Recovery homes should be located in good neighborhoods that have walkability. Walkability means easy access to bus stops, grocery stores, jobs, and mental and physical health facilities.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) group housing is needed everywhere. The real question is, who do you want to serve? All you need is a good neighborhood and a good home to serve people in need.

Traditional means like bank loans or finding investors to help fund the home are both viable options. There is a third option which is being a Landlord. This option is renting the property from a tired landlord in order to get into the business.

The house lead is often a model resident, someone who has been clean for an extended period, has shown leadership skills, and can support others through their journey.

Although these are both forms of group housing, they are very different.

In assisted living, because the population may or may not be able to advocate for themselves, there are many regulations and rules that the owner of a home must abide by. The home must also have awake staff available 24 hours a day.

In recovery housing, the house lead is part of your staff. While profits may be less in recovery housing, the overhead is also less. In addition, the amount of time it takes to run a recovery house is significantly less than assisted living.

When you're getting your recovery home open and set up, there are a few things you will want to look for in purchasing a house. Does it have large living rooms? Many older homes may have a formal dining room and a breakfast area. Can those spaces be converted into additional rooms?

If you are looking at purchasing an existing home, there are other things you will want to pay attention to when you visit the home. When you walk in, is the house clean and neat? Are things put away? Are things in order? Does it smell good? Are people gone? If everybody is there at 2 PM, are they actively looking for jobs? Are they at work, or is it their day off?

Not everyone is a good fit for a recovery home. Sometimes we do have to turn away people for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes we turn away residents because they're not ready to get clean and be in the group environment. They've shown that they are not willing to follow the house rules. In some cases, residents may have to be evicted.

Other times, residents are not willing to come into the home clean. When someone moves in, we want to ensure they have a baseline and are emotionally, physically, and mentally able and ready to make the journey because it is not easy for people suffering from SUD.

When someone moves into recovery housing, the goal is to enable them to succeed. Sometimes this requires tough love and enforcing the rules and the consequences that come with breaking them. If you decide to open a recovery home, it's important that you have a strong house lead and that you are okay with dealing with some of the conflict that will arise in managing residents and the rules.

The first step is submitting an application. This isn't a standard apartment rental application. We're looking not just for their financial ability, which is typically pretty sparse, but what is their behavioral suitability. Do they actively want to get better? Do they want to find work? Can they live in a group environment, and are they willing to share a room? These are all considerations to consider when moving in a new resident and reviewing their application.

Often in recovery housing, there's a stigma, and the neighbors will struggle with the idea of having a recovery home in the neighborhood.

To make friends with the neighbors, first to introduce yourself to them. Let them know what is happening. At the same time, you want to make sure you have a good neighbor policy. This is a policy that ensures the residents are going to behave and be active participants in the community and neighborhood.

The first thing is to help them find a new placement or housing in a situation that is a better fit. The last thing we want to do is kick people to the curb because they broke a simple rule. Try and work with people and have grace. We let them know what the rules are, and depending on the house, the individuals in the home, and the house lead, if this is a one-time mistake or there is a genuine willingness to grow, then we can continue to allow them to stay with us. However, sometimes that's not the case. In that situation, we make every effort to assist them in finding a new place to live.

Depending on your location, the business owner usually manages the managers or the lead. This means checking in with the lead, making sure the books are kept accurately, ensuring that people moving in and out is done properly, and handling big issues that come up.

If you can get away with it, having private bathrooms will always be the best.

That's going to be the top tier of recovery homes. However, sharing a bathroom is perfectly fine and is often the standard when it comes to recovery homes.

There are things you can do in the house to reduce the amount of time each person spends in the bathroom. Things like having a vanity, good lighting, and mirrors in the bedrooms will allow residents to get ready without occupying the bathroom and leaving it open for others to use.

You don't always know who the visitors are or what their intentions might be. The goal is to keep the house clean. When you already have ten people living in a home, a visitor is just another person that can add to the chaos in the home.

Not only that, but some residents need to have privacy. Sometimes they need to get away from friends or family members that have not been supporting them in their recovery. Having that privacy and not allowing guests allows residents to heal in an environment that is supportive for them.

First, you want to ensure enough seating for up to 10 residents or more in the home. It is highly recommended to have furniture that is sturdy and easy to clean. The home will also need a bed and dresser (or other storage) for each resident and a big dining table so everyone can eat meals and break bread together.

While TVs are not necessary for each room, you will want to have a TV and other forms of entertainment in the home. We also recommend having at least one desktop computer because not every resident will have access to a computer or bring one with them. This allows residents to look for jobs and communicate with others around them.

Because this is a residential home, you will have a home warranty, homeowners or landlord insurance. When it comes to the business, you will need to have a general liability policy.

The residents can do some of the maintenance, cleaning, and ensuring things are in good order. But when there are larger maintenance issues, such as the air conditioner or plumbing issues, you will want to have your contractors on call and readily available. In some cases, though, some residents may have home repair skills. If that's the case, you can pay them to do some home repairs.

Have additional questions?

Recovery housing is a simple business model but to do it right and in a sustainable way, it’s best to start asking questions and follow a proven business blueprint. Contact us and we can shed more light on areas you’re still trying to figure out.