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Sober/Transitional Living Facility Resources - Pennsylvania
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Frequently Asked Questions


1.  What kind of facilities require a license?

Persons, partnerships and corporations, or other legal entities intending to provide drug and alcohol treatment services require a license from Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP). Read More

2.  What levels of care, facilities, and programs are available to clients in Pennsylvania?

DDAP identifies five distinct levels of care: Read More

3.  What does it mean to be "licensed," "certified," or "accredited" in this industry?

Licensing means that a particular type of facility or professional may only operate or provide a certain set of services with the advance and continuous authorization (license) of a designated government agency. Read More


4.  Which body authorizes and oversees substance abuse treatment facilities in Pennsylvania?

DDAP is responsible for ensuring that persons who abuse or are dependent on alcohol and/or substances and their families are provided with care and treatment that is effective and high quality. Read More

5.  How does a facility obtain a license?

Persons, partnerships, corporations, or other legal entities intending to provide drug and alcohol treatment services must apply for a license from DDAP... Read More

6.  What are the different types of license which may be issued?

There are two types of license: full and provisional. Read More

7.  What kind of changes can affect a license once granted?

Licenses are non-transferable and apply only to the person, named facility, premised, and activities licensed by DDAP.  Read More

Recovery Houses

8.  What is a recovery house?

A recovery house is an alcohol and drug -free environment inhabited by individuals who are attempting to maintain their recovery from substance abuse disorders. Read More

9.  What kind of services can a recovery house offer?

Recovery houses provide a structured alcohol and drug free environment for congregate living that offers regularly scheduled peer-led or community gatherings (self-help groups, etc.). Read More

Licensing, Certification, and Accreditation

10.  Do we need a license to open a recovery house?

Recovery houses are currently unlicensed. They are simply group residences utilized by people... Read More

11.  In the absence of current licensing, how can recovery houses demonstrate their commitment to meeting minimum quality standards?

The Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR) is a peer driven, not-for-profit organization... Read More

12.  What is the process through which a recovery residence can be certified by the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences?

To be accepted as a member of PARR, the facility should meet the following standards: Read More

13.  How does a recovery house apply for accreditation?

Accreditation information from The Joint Commission is available at: Read More

Zoning and Land Use

14.  What are the legal protections for recovery houses?

A recovery house with six or fewer people is generally exempt from zoning and land use regulations based on federal and state law,... Read More

15.  Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery houses?

This area of law is complex and evolving. Read More

16.  What other aspects must I consider before choosing a location for our recovery house?

In siting a recovery house, attention should be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. Read More

Resident's Rights and Responsibilities

17.  What would our obligations to residents be?

In general, recovery houses should agree to the following: (1) to enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; Read More

18.  What kind of agreement must we ask our residents to sign?

The agreement should include: (1) a pledge from the client to live by the house rules including to abstain from drug and alcohol use and... Read More

19.  Can we insist on drug tests and searches?

Recovery houses do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Read More

20.  Can a recovery house bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Recovery houses sometimes rely on the drug screening that takes place when the resident attends outpatient services, ... Read More

21.  Can we make residents' obligations contractually enforceable?

If the rules are contained in the recovery residency housing agreement as conditions of residence, and the resident agrees to them upon accepting the housing, then they should be enforceable. Read More

Governance and Staffing

22.  What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with these types of residential arrangements?

A recovery house may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or a sole owner arrangement. Read More

23.  Are there any other organizations from which we could find more information?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Read More

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