2. PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
NARR Standard 3.0 includes Domain 2: Physical Environment
The physical dwelling of a recovery residence provides the platform from which to support recovery, reflecting one of SAMHSA’s four dimensions of recovery, Home. The role the physical environment can play for many people’s recovery has been well documented with reinforcing literature from the field of trauma-informed care. 26, 27, 28 29 Regarding recovery housing, Wittman et al (2014) explain that, “the setting is the services.”26 The setting can significantly support or hinder residents’ recovery and shape the interactions between the recovery home and its neighborhoods. Wittman (1993) defined six architectural considerations for recovery housing that can be helpful as residence operators consider this domain. These include the following:
- Location: The housing is sited in a conventional residential neighborhood with minimal crime that ideally has access to infrastructure: transportation, work, recreation, and social/health services.
- Appearance: The look of the residence conveys a sense of being neighborly rather than reclusive. Ideally, it has a design typical of other houses in the neighborhood, is visible from the street (as opposed to hidden behind a wall), and has an approachable front door.
- Design for sociability: The floor plan has an open design in which kitchen, dining and social spaces follow into each other, strongly encouraging socializing to promote recovery and healthy interactions.
- Design for personal space: The residents typically share rooms but have personal or private space. A balance of shared and private space facilitates both relationship building and personal empowerment.
- Facility oversight and security: The physical design enables easy oversight of the premises as well as personal security that promotes a supportive recovery environment. Space is open and free of physical barriers that would separate or seclude residents. 6. Care and Upkeep: High levels of physical maintenance, house-cleaning, and upkeep are vital. 30
Residences must be home-like, safe, promote abstinence, and cultivate community. These settings reinforce the notion that residents have choice in their living environment and can choose healthy spaces. This empowerment can enhance their human recovery capital. Further, space that is recovery-oriented helps to facilitate compliance with the other standards. Physical environment is the first domain in the social model philosophy scale (SMPS): “the extent to which the program facility offers a homelike environment.”10 The standards in this domain reflect the SMPS. — NARR Standard 3.0 Compendium
This domain is support through the following principles: