Factors Affecting the Sustainability of Self-Run Recovery Homes in the United States

Ronald Harvey
Jennifer Mortensen
Darrin Aase
Leonard Jason
Joseph R. Ferrari

DOI: 10.2190/SH.7.1.g


This study examined the sustainability rates of 214 self-run substance abuse recovery homes called Oxford Houses (OHs) over a 6-year period. We list five factors needed to sustain an OH: affordable housing, residents following OH principles, resident income, institutional support, and community support. Results indicated a high sustainability rate (86.9%) in which 186 OHs remained open and 28 OHs closed. Reasons for houses closing (N = 14) included lack of affordable housing, residents who were unable to adhere to OH rules, and insufficient income of residents. No house-level differences for income, sense of community, average lengths of stay, house age, or neighborhood characteristics were found between open and closed houses. Because the OH system relies on residents to sustain individual houses located in ordinary residential neighborhoods, these findings suggest that OH sustainability depends on locale, primarily access to affordable housing, and adequate job opportunities for residents.

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