1.C.7.d. Length of stay
Policies and procedures that promote resident-driven length of stay.
In most states, this rule applies to all levels. The asterisks (*) under levels III and IV highlight that some state laws have categorized recovery residences a “transitional housing” with a maximum of 2 years. In practice, most residents choose to move out within 2 years, so it likely does not negatively impact recovery outcomes. However, in those states, the resident agreement may have a cap of 2 years.
“Resident-driven length of stay” means that a resident can stay as long as they are upholding their obligations or the terms of the resident agreement. In other words, the recovery home staff or program does not put a limit on the number of days someone can live in the recovery home. If a resident is delinquent on their rent or jeopardizes the safety of the household, they have failed to meet their obligation. In these cases, a resident can be required to move out and while still upholding a resident-driven length of stay policy.
Why is a resident-driven length of stay policy important?
Resident-driven length of stay promotes social model recovery in several ways. It increases the number of senior residents in the community who can serve as role models. A more mature recovery culture in the household, means it is more stable and resilient to disturbances. It honors the social model’s recovery orientation that believes in self agency and person-driven recovery.
Resident-driven length of stay is a characteristic of housing. Protected under fair housing laws, the reason recovery housing can be sited within residential neighborhoods is because it is housing for persons with disabilities. If a “recovery home” does not operate like housing, it may not have a strong case for remaining in a residentially zoned area. Short lengths of stay could be considered “transient” and may not be appropriate for some residential zoning.
Resident-driven length of stay is a characteristic of permanent supportive housing (PSH). In PSH, a resident can choose to stay 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years. They key is that they choose when they want to move out, ideally based on their recovery goals and progress. In contrast, lengths of stay in transitional housing are driven by the program or provider. The greater average lengths of stay are correlated to stronger social model recovery and culture, which is why minimum lengths of stay commitments are common and maximum lengths are not.
What if the residential stay is capped at 2 years?
If a recovery residence provider caps their residents’ length of stay to 2 years, they can request a reasonable accommodation or variance and support the request with a justification. An argument can be made that a community with a 2 year cap would have an ample number of senior residents and peer leaders to support social model recovery.
What if a funding source is causing less than a 2 year limit on a resident’s length stay?
For various reasons, a recovery residence may accept third-party funding that directly or indirectly impacts length of stay. If the restriction is less than 2 years, a provider can submit a reasonable accommodation or variance to this rule, but they will need to explain how they are nullifying the negative impact of the restriction.
Is there a policy and procedure that promotes resident-driven length of stay?
Policy and procedure