How to Start a Recovery House

A young woman talking about her progress during an anonymous meeting.
Recovery houses help people recovering from addiction learn new skills and how to function in society. LordHenriVoton / Getty Images

Recovery houses are more commonly referred to as halfway houses. Recovery houses help somebody recovering from addiction learn new skills and learn how to function again in society. Any addict who has undergone drug or alcohol addiction treatment in a hospital or clinic will attest to how difficult the transition from full-time treatment to independent living can be. The halfway house acts as the bridge between treatment and the real world. At a halfway house a recovering addict will receive, and give, peer support in an environment free of alcohol or drugs. Thus, the recovery house helps a former addict become a productive citizen again [source: Integrity Way].

If you want to open a recovery house, the following information will be very helpful.


  1. Education There are no specific educational requirements for starting a recovery house.
  2. Location Decide where you want to open the halfway house. Get any necessary building permits and zoning variances. Have all the necessary fire and health inspections done.
  3. Staffing You will have to hire the necessary staff to supervise your recover house's residents. The type of staff you will need depends on the type of recovery house you're running.
  4. CertificationThe Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) certifies recovery houses and provides some funding. In order to have a certified recovery house you must be sure you can comply with their regulations, in addition of course to any necessary zoning and safety requirements. Their standards refer not only to the building itself but also to how the occupants are treated. They also stipulate minimum involvement in substance abuse treatment for the managerial staff.
  5. Funding You must calculate if the venture will be profitable. Decide how many residents you will have in each room, how much you will charge, and whether you will charge by the day, week or month. Be sure to take into account all your expenses, including mortgage or rental fees, food utilities, staffing, sundries and other incidentals. Don't forget to take into account all your start up costs [source: Spigel, NICD]. //]]]]> ]]>

Recovery House FAQs

How much do sober living homes cost?
Living in a recovery home costs the same as it would cost to live in a modest apartment or a home. Residents are required to pay rent each month for their room, which costs between $450 and $900, depending on the location. Since residents are sharing expenses it should be less than living on their own.
What does recovery mean?
Recovery is popularly known as the period directly after you begin receiving treatment for your addiction. The recovery process is monumental for patients looking to stop their addiction and move on.
What are the five stages of recovery?
The five stages of recovery include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. These stages usually move people from addiction to sobriety in their lives.
How are halfway houses funded?
Halfway houses are usually funded by probation and parole offices and the Federal Bureau of Prison. These organizations contract with nonprofits and private companies to run the halfway houses.
What do you need to start a recovery house?
A lot depends on the state you'll be living in and what kinds of services you'll be offering. Recovery homes don't usually have to be licensed, but if you're planning to offer treatment services, you'll probably be required to have paid staff who are licensed. Check the zoning laws for the area where you want to set up the house to find out whether you are allowed to put your home there. There is usually information pertaining to a state's policies for recovery homes on its government website.