Housing is an incredibly overlooked aspect of recovery from addiction. This proves particularly true when it comes to government funding, zoning rights, and finding affordable and safe housing for those seeking to recover.

The terms “seeking recovery,” “in recovery” and “recovering” can be applied to individuals who are making concerted efforts to remove destructive patterns of substance abuse from their lives. This usage would be congruent with how we speak of people responding to other chronic conditions and illnesses. The language assumes both commitment and progress rather than a complete absence of symptoms.

A major element in supporting that commitment is a safe and sober environment to call home. Fred Way was an important speaker to listen to this semester, as he’s the executive director of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences, an organization that provides residential support services in the city of Philadelphia.

Way reveals how much red tape and civic resistance in the face of launching a recovery property; a detailed process of business privilege licensure, property zoning and an approved living plan for residents.

The bureaucracy of recovery housing is a major roadblock, as finding neighborhoods accepting of this type of property proves difficult. The absurdity of having just 425 bed available in a city with such potent and accessible drugs is jarring, but another sobering bit of data that demands more attention.

The continuum of care in recovery requires a consistent bridge to long-term sobriety, and with the city and state not aiding, and instead limiting, this type of housing, that bridge is quite shaky in this city.