Boosting access to more than 40 houses, 440 beds statewide
Young adults in Texas with a substance use disorder often face housing insecurity, marked by unstable or inadequate living arrangements without support for long-term recovery from addiction.
Be Well Texas, a program of UT Health San Antonio that treats patients statewide for opioid and other substance use disorders by partnering with organizations and building a network across Texas, has been awarded a three-year, $3.4 million grant for a pilot program to support recovery housing statewide for emerging adults ages 18 to 25 undergoing treatment and recovery.
The grant funding from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will help expand access to 16 existing housing providers with more than 40 houses and 440 beds, covering the costs of required certifications, training and technical assistance, and related administrative costs.
The recovery houses are for those seeking long-term recovery from a substance use disorder diagnosis, in safe, healthy, recovery-friendly environments. The need is particularly critical for young adults in recovery in Texas who often experience housing insecurity.
“Meeting their basic need for housing allows them to focus on the other areas in life that would promote their recovery and overall well-being,” said Richard Hamner, MSW, BASc, program manager of recovery support services for Be Well Texas.
“Bridging gaps for safe recovery housing involves peer support, counseling and teaching life skills to help individuals positively adapt and effectively deal with challenges of everyday life,” he said. “Those life skills may include employment readiness, GED education, healthy eating, home management and budgeting. And the homes also provide other essential social support.”
Originally, the state considered opening 12 new recovery residences, but funding was insufficient to build that many homes as startups.
Be Well Texas believed it would be more cost-effective to use funding to support existing recovery housing providers, but cover their costs to operate as homes certified as “level 2” or “level 3” on a four-level service scale of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences. The NARR is a nonprofit organization that has developed the most widely referenced national standard for the operation of recovery residences, working with and supporting 30 state affiliate organizations.
Aside from the state and the NARR, other partners include RecoveryPeople/TROHN (Texas Recovery-Oriented Housing Network) for the training and technical assistance, and the various providers of recovery housing services across Texas. Be Well Texas created a statement of work for the project and sent a request for applications to more than 300 providers. The hope is that these providers will continue to open new homes and beds in the future.
“By increasing access to recovery residences for emerging adults, Be Well Texas is filling a gap in the substance use disorder continuum,” said Briseida “Bee” Courtois, MSW, LCDC, director of substance use services for Be Well Texas. “We along with Health and Human Services are setting a benchmark in recovery housing through support of this one-of-a-kind, medication-assisted-treatment friendly, NARR-certified level 2 and 3 housing assistance program for a high need group of young adults.”
Individuals ages 18 through 25 with a substance use or mental health diagnosis can qualify. For more information, contact Be Well Texas at (888) 85-BeWell, (888) 852-3935.