Fred Way, the executive director of the Philadelphia Association of Recovery visited our classroom to discuss the ins and outs of recovery housing and some of the issues he and his organization have faced in the past.
Kensington by far has the most saturated recovery housing zip code and yet most of the housing is substandard. It is important to eliminate these kinds of houses as an option and make sure the houses are certified. Right now according to Way, there are not enough good housing options. Even if a house takes the initiative to try and become certified they must meet a set of specific guidelines. The house must be zoned properly and the owners must have a business privilege license. Along with mission statements, written house rules, admission criteria supervision requirements, health and safety, living accommodations, residents’ grievance policies and drug and alcohol screening policies.
Though it is a long route to getting a house certified, it is worth it. The stigma on recovery houses according to Fred Way is due to ‘bad apple’ recovery housing. They “are an eyesore,” he said, though recovery houses are used for a specific purpose Way made it very clear that you are not supposed to know a recovery house is a recovery house from the outside. You are supposed to be able to enter a recovery house anytime, a certified house is supposed to serve as a “good neighbor” to neighboring community members. Many of the uncertified houses lack these fundamental aspects.