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Sober/Transitional Living Facility Resources - Pennsylvania
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Frequently Asked Questions


1.  What kinds 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 (PDDAP). Substance abuse facilities are physical locations from which drug and alcohol services are provided. A facility may provide more than one service. Read More

2.  What Levels of Care Are Offered to Clients in Pennsylvania?

The following levels of care are available to alcohol and drug addicted individuals in Pennsylvania. Read More

3.  What does it mean to be ‘licensed’ or ‘accredited’ in this industry?

Licensing means that the facility has been granted a written notice conveying to the public that the regulator has issued its permission to operate authorized services. These services can only be delivered with the advance and continuous authorization of a designated government agency to ensure protection of public health, safety, and welfare. Read More


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

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (PDDAP) 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 of high quality. Read More

5.  How Does a Facility Obtain a Provisional License?

Persons, partnerships, corporations, or other legal entities intending to provide drug and alcohol treatment services must apply for a license from Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (PDDAP) using the form below: Read More

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

There are two types of license: full and provisional. If, after carrying out an on-site inspection, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (PDDAP) determines that the requirements for licensure have been met, a full license will be issued to the owner of a facility and will indicate the name of the facility, the address, the date of issuance, and the types of activities the facility is authorized to provide. Read More

7.  What Kinds of Changes Can Affect a License Once Granted?

Licenses are non-transferable and therefore facilities must notify Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (PDDAP) within 90 days if any of the following conditions arise:

(a) Change in ownership.

(b) Change in name of the facility. Read More

Recovery Residences


8.  What is a recovery home?

Recovery Homes are transitional alcohol and drug free housing with rules,... Read More

9.  Do we need a license to open a recovery home?

Recovery homes are currently unlicensed. Read More

10.  In the absence of licensing, how can recovery homes demonstrate their commitment to meeting minimum quality standards?

The Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR) is a peer driven not-for-profit organization. It offers membership to recovery homes which enables them to increase their credibility by voluntarily meeting the PARR standards. Read More

11.  What is the process through which a sober home can be accepted as a member of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences?

To be accepted as a member of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences, the facility should meet the following standards: Read More

12.  What kinds of services can a recovery home offer?

Recovery Homes 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

Zoning and Land Use

13.  What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?

A facility with six or fewer people is exempt from zoning and land use regulations based on federal and state law, and need not seek municipal approval to operate.Read More

14.  Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery homes?

Recovery homes in some communities have found growing efforts to regulate them by local ordinance, including registration requirements, concentration (spacing) limits, and other requirements.  Read More

15.  What other aspects must I consider before choosing a location for our recovery home?

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

Resident's Rights and Responsibilities

16.  What would our obligations to residents be?

To enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; to maintain the premises in a habitable manner; Read More

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

The agreement must include a pledge from the tenant to live by the house rules including to abstain from drug and alcohol use and (usually) to attend a weekly residents’ meeting and any other rules the landlord wishes to make (guests, pets); Read More

18.  Can we insist on drug tests and searches?

No, recovery homes do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent.  Read More

19.  Can a recovery home bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Recovery homes sometimes rely on the drug screening which takes place when the resident attends outpatient services, although they may make use of drug testing equipment which can be used onsite.  Read More

20.  Can we make residents’ obligations contractually enforceable?

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

Governance and Staffing

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

A sober housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or a sole owner arrangement. There will be a landlord, and often a residential manager who may be on or off-site. Read More

22.  Are there any other organizations where we could find more information?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

http://www.samhsa.gov/   Read More

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