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Sober/Transitional Living Facility Resources - New York

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

1. What kinds of facilities require certification?

Any behavioral health facility which offers treatment services for substance use disorder requires certification by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) unless an exception applies. Read More

2. What kinds of services can a certified substance abuse treatment facility provide in New York?

In New York, primary types of facilities include inpatient facilities, residential treatment programs comprised of intensive services, community and supportive living and outpatient facilities. Within each of these provider types there are multiple levels of service. Read More

3. What does it mean to be ‘licensed’, ‘certified’, ‘registered’ or ‘accredited’ in this industry?

Certification means that the facility has been granted an operating certificate, or a written notice conveying to the public that the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has issued its permission to operate authorized services related to the treatment of substance use disorder or chemical dependence. Read More

Sober Living Environments

Licensing

4. What is a sober home?

A sober home is an alcohol and drug-free environment inhabited by individuals who are attempting to maintain their recovery from substance abuse disorders. Read More

5. Do we need certification to open a sober home?

Operating certificates are… Read more

6. Are there any consequences to being uncertified?

Because there is no regulatory oversight, some have complained that Read More

7. What kinds of services can a sober home offer?

Alcohol and drug-free houses (sober-living environments) typically provide a living environment to enable residents to organize activities and participate in self-help initiatives which promote their goal to live without drugs or alcohol. They can provide Read More

8. Does a sober home have to obtain certification in order to operate?

The law protects small groups of individuals who choose to live together in peer-supportive environments and therefore does not impose a burden of obtaining certification on residents. However, Read More 

Zoning and Land Use

9. What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?

A facility with six or fewer people is… Read More

10. Can local governments put special restrictions on sober living residences?

Sober homes in some communities have found growing efforts to regulate them by local ordinance, including registration requirements, concentration (spacing) limits, and other requirements. Read More

11. What other aspects should I consider before choosing a location for our sober home?

In siting a sober home, attention should be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. While federal and state law protect the right to operate sober living homes of six or fewer in any residential community, Read More

Resident’s Rights and Responsibilities

12. What would our obligations to residents be?

To enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; Read More

13. What kind of agreement should we ask our residents to sign?

The agreement should include a pledge from the tenant to live by the house rules including to abstain from drug and alcohol use and (usually) to attend a weekly residents’ meeting and any other rules the landlord wishes to make (guests, pets); Read More

14. Can we insist on drug tests and searches?

No, sober homes do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Consent can be Read More

15. Can a sober home bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Sober homes sometimes rely on the drug screening which takes place when the resident attends outpatient services, although they may make use of drug testing equipment which can be used onsite. Read More

16. Can we make residents’ obligations contractually enforceable?

If the rules are contained in the tenancy agreement as conditions of residence, and the resident agrees to them upon accepting the tenancy, then they are enforceable. Read More

Governance and Staffing

17. What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with these types of residential arrangements?

A sober housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or a sole owner arrangement. Read More

18. Are there any other organizations where we could find more information?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration http://www.samhsa.gov/ Read More

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The American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA) delivers reliable information and resources on compliance and best practices to enable recovery industry professionals, owners, and operators to navigate the evolving clinical and regulatory landscapes.

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