September 30, 2021

Whitehouse, Portman Continue Recovery Leadership with Introduction of Excellence in Recovery Housing Act

Senate addiction-recovery leaders’ bipartisan legislation would help supply housing for those with substance use disorder – providing vital support to succeed in their recovery

Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH)—authors of the groundbreaking Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and CARA 2.0 laws—have introduced the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act, to boost the availability of housing nationwide for those in recovery from substance use disorder. The framework for this bipartisan legislation was included in CARA 3.0 and would help to expand the supply of recovery housing, coordinate the government’s efforts to provide recovery housing, and study and promote the adoption of best practices for housing agencies and other housing providers.

“For those in recovery, a safe and comfortable home can be the difference between a healthy new life and a dangerous relapse. This legislation will boost access to supportive housing for those walking the difficult but noble road of recovery,” said Whitehouse. “I’m pleased to lead this effort in the Senate with Senator Portman, and to continue to build on the success of my CARA and CARA 2.0 laws. We’ve proven that care and support for those fighting addiction is a bipartisan priority in Congress, but we have much work to do.”

“In recent years we have made progress in fighting the scourge of addiction thanks to resources from the bipartisan CARA, CARA 2.0 laws, in addition to other bipartisan efforts in Congress. As we come out of the COVID-19, we must redouble our efforts to combat addiction and help those who are struggle with addiction to maintain recovery. Stable housing is an instrumental part of achieving long-term recovery and I am glad to work with my colleagues to promote more access to high-quality recovery housing,” said Portman.

Over 20 million Americans are in recovery from substance use disorder, and for many of them a good home can be an enormous lift to their success. Recovery housing, or “sober homes,” provide a family-like communal living experience in which resident support one another and agree to abstain from substance use aside from prescribed medications. However, research suggests the demand for recovery housing outstrips supply.

The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act would:

•  Require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), along with national accrediting entities and reputable providers of recovery housing services, to develop guidelines for states to promote the availability of high-quality recovery housing.

•  Provide grants to states to implement these guidelines and promote high-quality recovery housing.

•  Require the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue, as well as make recommendations for increasing availability, improving data collection, and improving inclusivity for individuals who take medication-assisted treatment.

•  Create an interagency working group, chaired by SAMHSA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to increase collaboration among federal agencies in promoting the availability of high-quality recovery housing.

The bill has earned the support of the Addiction Policy Forum; Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia; The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the Council on Accreditation; American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine; American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM); Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness; California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Professionals; Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose; Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP); Community Anti- Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA); Faces & Voices of Recovery; The Kennedy Forum; Live4Lali; Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA); NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals; National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery); National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR); National Association for Behavioral Healthcare; National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists; National Council for Behavioral Health; Partnership to End Addiction; Shatterproof; Talbott Legacy Centers; Treatment Communities of America; The Voices Project; Well Being Trust; and WestCare Foundation.

Bill text is available here.

Contact: Rich Davidson (202) 228-6291 (press office)

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921