Fred Way of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences spoke to our class on Tuesday about recovery houses in Pennsylvania. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance of Recovery Residences. He’s the executive director of PARR, and in this role, he advocates for safe, sober and healthy recovery housing options for those in need. Way spoke about the importance of a recovery house with clean conditions, and it made me think of a time I was on assignment in Kensington. Although I wasn’t photographing at a recovery house—I was photographing at a homeless shelter—the residents kept talking about how clean the place was compared to other shelters in the city, and that’s why they appreciated the space and stayed at that specific shelter. Giving people in recovery or those with addiction access to basic needs like a clean space to live is so vital. 

Way also spoke about the difficulties that people on MAT—or medically assisted treatment—face when trying to enter a recovery house in Pennsylvania. Prior to Way coming to our class, I didn’t know that there were funded and non-funded recovery houses. He said that as of three months ago, all funded houses have to accept all potential residents even if on MAT. However, the non-funded homes are allowed to chose whether or not they accept a person on MAT, and only about a hand-full do. This obviously creates obstacles for those on MAT trying to seek residence in a non-funded recovery house.