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[ Opinion ]

Sober living homes & associations – good for the industry?

Sober livings are not regulated by the state. But is that all changing?

More and more voluntary coalitions or associations are popping up that impose ethical guidelines and standards on members. Some charge a fee, some are free to join. Most follow the NARR Standards. 

Are associations good or bad for the industry?

Associations provide structure to the sober living industry. Every week there is an article about a supposed sober living that was really just a flop house or wet house. These houses are not sober livings and give the industry as a whole a bad name. The benefit of having a self regulating association is that standards will be set and sober livings will either have to follow them, or their businesses will suffer. Although certification is voluntary, some cities have made it so that sober livings that arent certified will not receive government funding and cant receive referrals from state certified treatment centers. Without those two crucial elements, most sober livings would be forced to shut down.

The flip side is that not being regulated provides sober livings with a lot of flexibility and enables them to save the time and money that would be required to get certified by the state. If sober livings were to be required to be HIPAA compliant, to pay for certification and to pay a consultant to help with the certification process, less sober livings would be started. With the opioid addiction problem we have in this country, do we really want to discourage people from starting sober livings? Already demand is greater than supply. Certification could make things a lot harder for people to start something that provides a needed service.

I believe certification is good for the industry as a whole. It will keep the industry ethical, hard working and reward those that play by the books. The only caveat to this statement is that we have to make sure we also, simultaneously, make it easier for people to start sober livings. More state and federal grants should be given to people who want to start sober livings. More resources should be made available to the industry. With certification, resources and money must be dedicated to helping the industry grow and prosper..

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts and opinions or feel free to email me at [email protected]