how to start a sober living home

Did you know that approximately 20 million people have a substance addiction in the United States alone? Yes, this number is alarming! Addiction knows no stranger. Teenagers to elderly adults are victims of drug and alcohol abuse every day. Whether you have experienced an addiction first-hand or have seen a family member or friend suffer from substance abuse, you have decided to take a stance and help others recover. Starting a sober living home is an indelible way to impact your community. You may be wondering how to start a sober living home.

What goes into the process? What’s the best way to finance it? What are its benefits?

Continue to read to learn more.

Share Your Mission and Story

As you begin the process to start a sober living home, it is important to seek and earn community support. The main goal is to raise awareness about your proposed sober living home.

What’s the best way to do this? Be intimate with members of the community and share the story that inspired you to make a difference.

Whether you are recovering alcohol or drug addict yourself or are close to someone who has suffered from an addiction, be honest with your audience and share what drove you to consider opening a home.

As you express yourself in a compassionate and authentic way, you can build community support for the project.

Plan Your Home Thoughtfully

After gaining initial support from community members, it is now time to plan your home thoughtfully and in detail. The first step should be determining a location.

It will be more economically feasible to rent or purchase an already-existing home than to build from scratch but you may opt to build a new home.

When you decide on the size and location of your home, keep in mind how many residents you plan to host. Do you want your home to be just for men or women, or be co-ed?

Think of the structure of the home and how you would prefer the layout to be. Do you want every resident to have his or her own bedroom or share a space with a roommate? Do you want a communal living space (family room, etc) where residents can spend time together?

Of importance, research zoning laws in your proposed area. This will be discussed in greater detail below.

All of these decisions will play a monumental role in home selection and location.

Budgeting and Analysis

As you plan your sober living home, it is important to develop a comfortable budget. Once you envision your sober living home, you can detail the necessary costs such as:

  • Cost per room (beds, furniture, etc)
  • Home purchase, rental, or build cost
  • Start-up costs
  • Employee salaries
  • Internet/TV
  • Groceries
  • Electricity
  • Water

There are numerous costs to consider and you cannot take them lightly. This is why a cost analysis is essential.

As you plan for the costs associated with your home, determine if there is a strong enough need for a home in your community to justify the costs. This is all about return on investment.

Running a sober living home can be an expensive endeavor, but its long-term benefits can be life-changing.

Licensing and Zoning

An inevitable requirement when starting a sober living home is to receive appropriate government licenses and ensure legal zoning.

Sober living homes need to be approved by your local government. You will need to acquire specific licenses to legally operate a home.

Some residential zones do not allow common houses to be repurposed as sober living homes. Sober living homes that provide medical and clinical attention are often not seen, in the eyes of the law, as traditional homes. If you do not research zoning in detail, this can lead to significant consequences later on.

Another important factor to consider is the opinion of home neighbors. Some neighbors may feel threatened by a sober living home and believe it will make their community less protected.

Families with young children may be especially opposed to the idea of a sober living home in the community. This is why you have to make clear your intentions and ensure that your residents are monitored and supervised.


There are multiple options to consider to finance your home. One of the most popular approaches is to file for a grant. Organizations such as United Way and Sober Living Foundation financially support sober living homes across the country.

Fundraisers can make an impact as well. While a fundraiser may not pay for all of the associated costs with starting a sober living home, such an event can be a great way to teach members of the community about the recovery process and encourage them to support your mission.

If you have been blessed with wealth, you do have the option to finance the home out-of-pocket. Additionally, you can invite investors to partner with you. This would be a great way to encourage wealthy investors to support a meaningful project and give back to the community.

Benefits of a Sober Living Home

There are key benefits to starting a sober living home that can help your residents not only recover but prosper. Some of these benefits include:

  • Encouraging residents to form close friendships
  • Providing a safe space and sober environment
  • Allowing residents to feel heard and understood
  • Providing residents with unwavering support
  • Teach residents about how to resist the urge to start drinking or taking substances again and encourage sober living
  • Educate residents about core life skills and how to succeed in a career
  • Provide meaningful connections that can help residents in the recovery process and in a job search

Discover How to Start a Sober Living Home with Taste Recovery Today

Taste Recovery is dedicated to being a singular resource for individuals to find and explore sober living homes in the United States.

If you want to know how to start a sober living home, we have excellent resources to share with you. Once your home is approved and opened, we would love to share it with our community and help you find residents.

To learn more about our mission and how we can be of assistance, please contact us today.