what is sober living

Although 21 million Americans struggle with addiction, there aren’t as many addiction resources or trained professionals who can help them as you might think. One of the biggest gaps in recovery assistance is rehabilitation aftercare. What options does someone have when they’re transitioning from a rehabilitation center to their day-to-day lives? How can they stay on the path to recovery in a less monitored and restricted environment? Sober living homes are one of the best resources during that transition. What is sober living and how can you start a sober living home, yourself?

If you want to become an active part of the recovery community, you’re in the right place. Read on for our sober living guide to learn about what sober living is and how you can start a sober living home in your community.

What Is Sober Living?

Sober living, broadly speaking, is the practice of living your life without substance use. This includes all recreational drug use as well as alcohol consumption. A home is an environment where all residents abide by sober living expectations, making it easier for residents to stay on track toward their path to sobriety.

These homes can provide a variety of additional services besides a safe and clean place to live. These additional services may include:

  • employment assistance
  • drug and alcohol testing
  • educational courses and planning
  • peer-based group support
  • structured recovery planning

Occasionally, you’ll encounter homes that do provide medical services. However, this will require additional licensing and is not a common practice.

Quality Standards

Before you open a sober living home, you’ll need to understand what quality standards your property must meet. For example, sober living homes fall under the protection of both the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This will help when you are navigating zoning laws, but it also means that your property must be FHA and ADA-compliant.

Here are a few examples of quality standards that sober living homes must meet:

  • the facility must be safe, sanitary, and free of health hazards
  • the facility must provide adequate and equitable supplies, furnishings, and space for all residents
  • if individual or group counseling is part of your program, the facility must have a private space for counseling sessions (both group and individual)
  • there can be no substances used or housed on the property
  • any animals on the premises, including service or support animals, must be supervised and properly vaccinated

You will also need to provide routine maintenance for the property and keep up with federal, state, and local residential property codes.

How to Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a comprehensive document explaining the what, why, how, and when of opening your sober living home. For example, you will want to include details like:

  • the name and mission
  • a description of goals and services
  • the type of residence you will buy or rent
  • the number of residents you will house and how long each resident may stay
  • the demographic your home will serve
  • the employees you will need to hire to run the property and any services you offer
  • the rules of your home which you will then turn into a policy handbook

Next, you will need to include a financial plan. How much will it cost to buy or rent the property and run it? Overhead costs should factor in everything from property payments to staff salaries.

From there, you can discuss how much financial aid you will need, where you plan to get it from, and how much you will charge your residents.

Include any zoning law research in your business plan. Zoning laws regulate land use and how structures can be used based on what types of buildings they are, where they’re located, and more. Most homes do exist in residential areas and both the FHA and ADA protect you from pushback from neighbors.

How to Find Investors

When you’re looking for funding, it is important to determine what the funding is for. Use your business plan to make your pitch to potential investors but make sure that you know exactly how much you’re asking from them and what you’ll use it for. Oftentimes, sober living homes receive funding for two things.

The first is the actual property, which may be funded or owned outright by an investment group or organization. Obtaining a loan to build or buy a property is one example of partnering with an organization to fund your sober living home.

The second is the services you’re going to provide to the residents. Many facilities reach out to nonprofit organizations that have a vested interest in mental health advocacy, job opportunities, or rehabilitation programs, specifically. You can also attempt to crowd-fund to cover these expenses, though this is less common.

How to Promote and Market

To market a sober living home, you will want to take a varied approach. Get in contact with any rehabilitation centers or sobriety organizations in your community. Ask if they are interested in working with you to find their clients or participants additional resources such as sober living.

Online marketing is also crucial to your sober living home’s success in reaching new residents. We’re proud to offer a location and need-based search engine for sober living homes around the nation. We are happy to help your marketing efforts by listing your sober living home in our database.

Start a Sober Living Home in Your Community

The sober living benefits are undeniable for those who are in recovery. We hope that we’ve gone beyond answering the question, “What is sober living?” and provided you with the groundwork on how to start a sober living home.

To find out more about our database and resources, contact us today.