2022 Edition

Housing Stabilization and Community Living Services (CA-HSCL) 8: Recovery Homes

The recovery home provides a safe, supportive, home-like environment that is free of alcohol and illicit drugs. 
NA The organization does not operate recovery housing.




Individuals and families that use Housing Stabilization and Community Living Services obtain and maintain stable housing in the community, strengthen personal support systems and resources, and enhance life skills and functioning in order to improve overall well-being and live as independently as possible.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for maintaining a clean and safe environment
  • Drug testing procedures
  • Relapse policy
  • Relapse procedures
  • Procedures for facilitating community and social connections
  • Employment policy
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records
  • Observe facilities and outdoor area/grounds

Fundamental Practice

CA-HSCL 8.01

Indoor and outdoor areas of the recovery home are clean, maintained in good condition, and promote the health and safety of personnel and residents.


CA-HSCL 8.02

Recovery homes include:
  1. space to accommodate individual, small, and large group activities;
  2. a common room, dining and/or kitchen area, and space for indoor recreation;
  3. adequately and attractively furnished rooms with a separate bed for each resident, including a clean, comfortable, covered mattress; pillow; and sufficient linens and blankets; 
  4. a non-stacking crib for each infant and toddler that is 24 months or younger that meets safety guidelines, as applicable; 
  5. a sufficient number of private facilities for bathing, toileting, and personal hygiene, that are developmentally appropriate;
  6. access to a telephone, computer, and the internet as permitted, for use by residents and personnel; 
  7. access to laundry facilities;
  8. private areas where residents can meet with family and friends; and
  9. a safe place such as a locker to keep personal belongings and valuables.


CA-HSCL 8.03

Residents participate actively in:
  1. decorating and personalizing their sleeping area;
  2. food preparation and meal planning; and
  3. contributing to decisions about how to make living areas inviting, comfortable, and reflective of their interests and diversity.

Fundamental Practice

CA-HSCL 8.04

The recovery home maintains a supply of opioid overdose reversal medication on-site. 


CA-HSCL 8.05

Procedures for drug testing include:
  1. collection procedures including whether collection is observed;
  2. timing and frequency of testing including initial testing; ongoing, random point-of-care testing; and confirmation testing when indicated;
  3. potential out-of-pocket costs to the resident;
  4. how test results from outside providers may be used, with resident consent, to reduce the number of tests conducted at the home; and
  5. what will happen if tests come back positive.


Tests that go beyond what is needed to protect the safety of the resident and the resident’s house mates are unethical and should be avoided. Conversely, increases in drug use or an increase in overdoses may be an indicator that not enough testing is being done. Testing that goes beyond an organization’s own established guidelines should trigger an internal ethics review to determine whether more frequent testing is justified.


CA-HSCL 8.06

Policy and procedures regarding relapse:
  1. are designed to protect the health and well-being of the individual and the rest of the residents in the recovery house;
  2. define what protections are in place to prevent relapse;
  3. outline what will happen if relapse occurs;
  4. include timely due process provisions; and
  5. describe the conditions or process for re-admittance if separation from the home is necessary.
Related Standards:


Because research shows that relapse management and support can be central to preventing homelessness, when separation from the home is necessary, the resident should receive information on other providers or programs in the community that may better meet their treatment and support needs. In some cases, programs may hold the bed for a designated period of time while the individual seeks treatment.
Note: See CA-HSCL 7.08 for more information on eviction/discharge.


CA-HSCL 8.07

Individuals are offered opportunities to:
  1. participate in and contribute to the recovery community, including giving and receiving peer support; 
  2. engage with and contribute to the local community; and
  3. develop and enhance positive personal and interpersonal skills and behaviours. 
Examples: In regard to element (b), ways that residents can contribute to the local community can include school, work, volunteering, and recreation.


CA-HSCL 8.08

Individuals, and their families when possible and appropriate, are:
  1. helped to develop social support networks and build healthy, meaningful relationships with caring individuals of their choosing; and
  2. actively connected with self-help/mutual aid groups when desired and appropriate to their request or need for service.


Connections to outside self-help/mutual aid groups should not be limited to providing the time and location for a meeting. Organizations can support the individual’s acclimation to a new group by, for example, discussing meeting protocols and what to expect prior to attending, accompanying them to their first meeting, and encouraging them to make connections with peers while at the meeting.
Examples: Caring individuals may include mentors, community members, friends, classmates, peers, sponsors, siblings, cousins, grandparents, former foster parents, and extended family members.


CA-HSCL 8.09

When the organization offers employment to residents, organizational policy:
  1. ensures residents are matched with jobs that reflect their goals and interests;
  2. maximizes resident choice, and does not mandate participation; and
  3. prohibits resident exploitation.
Related Standards:
NA The organization does not offer employment opportunities to residents.