On Tuesday, Fred Way, Executive Director of PARR (Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Specialists) spoke to our class about how recovery houses start and the challenges they face. When Way started PARR, it was just him and his assistant. Now PARR has helped certify over 170 other recovery houses and has its own training center. Way also expressed the importance of certifying the house. Certified houses receive funding, unlike uncertified houses. A certified house has to go through a lot of criteria. For instance, it has to have a specific bathroom-to-person ratio. It also has to be zoned properly as a “Rooming House” and have a Commercial Activity License. It’s also important that the house has support from the community. A common roadblock that most recovery houses face is a lack of community support. Way suggested going door to door and confronting the neighbors personally because it will elicit more support. I also appreciated that Way was honest that there are good recovery houses and bad recovery houses and what sets them apart.
I have always wondered how organizations like this got started and the processes they have to go through, so it was interesting to speak with Way about how he got started. Knowing the things organizations like Prevention Point face, I expected there to be roadblocks in processes but I didn’t expect there to be so many. With situations with places like Liberation Way, it’s important to understand how Recovery Houses actually work.