Recovery housing is an important part of substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment and is seen as a common gap in the continuum of care for individuals experiencing SUD. Recovery residences provide housing for individuals recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction that provides an alcohol and drug free living environment, peer support, assistance with obtaining drug and alcohol addiction services, and other recovery assistance.

The team at JG completed a census for recovery residences in 2022 in Montana using the CAST tool, which brought them onto this project: an evaluation of recovery residences in Ohio. Consulting firm Mighty Crow had discovered CAST through an online search and connected JG researchers with Danielle Gray, executive director of Ohio Recovery Housing (ORH). Funding for this study was provided by the Alkermes Program Grant Fund through ORH. Read the full report Mapping the Gap: An Assessment of Capacity, Cost-Benefits, and Disparities in Utilization in Ohio Recovery Housing online here.

The goal of the assessment was to understand the capacity of recovery supports in Ohio. Using JG’s Calculating an Adequate System Tool (CAST) to quantify the gaps in recovery housing, this assessment examined patterns of disparities in access across demographic categories and provides estimates of potential cost savings for the expansion recovery housing. This is a novel assessment approach to quantify gaps in recovery housing capacity; CAST is able to estimate saturation for recovery housing by level and gender of bed for each county, applies equations (developed by JG) to estimate bed need and demand based on the population characteristics of each county, and provides estimates of the population who are likely to utilize a service that is available.

ORH is a national leader in their prioritization of collecting client information; through the provider portal, ORH receives client-level data from over 300 recovery residences across the state. At a national level, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) uses federal funds to provide three levels of standardization for recovery residences and certification for these programs. The three levels of standardization allow residences to meet clients where they are at and make sure these residences are consistent in the quality of the home and understanding of which type of recovery housing best fits a person’s needs.

The assessment was intended to quantify three key questions for ORH.

  1. What is the current capacity of the existing bed infrastructure of recovery housing in Ohio and
    does this meet the projected demand for this service?
  2. What are projections for the cost savings to the behavioral health treatment care system in Ohio
    with additional investments in recovery housing?
  3. Are there disparities in access or utilization by geography, race, gender, and socio-economic status for recovery housing?

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Ohio is meeting merely 31% of its capacity needs for recovery housing- highlighting a significant deficiency in available resources for those seeking essential support on their journey to recovery.
  • Recovery Housing saved Ohio $35 million in 2022 – When individuals have access to recovery housing, they are less likely to need state supported incarceration, medical care, and support. Even limited access to recovery housing led to large, estimated cost savings for Ohio during 2022.
  • Regional Disparities Increases local strain: Some areas in the state have a higher concentration of recovery residences and this imbalance is contributing to an inequitable distribution of resources and widening the recovery housing gap.

The goal of the assessment was for JG to provide an initial evaluation and some ongoing technical assistance in order for ORH to reproduce the CAST analysis of recovery residences each year. An annual evaluation with help to standardize the recovery housing program through data reporting. JG’s principal researcher Brandn Green will be presenting the results with ORH and Might Crow at the National Association for Recovery Residences from Oct 9-11 in Deerborne, MI.