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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

AZRHA Sober Living Section

Recovery Housing in Arizona






By Duane Mantey

For those new in recovery having a sober living environment can be critical to long term sobriety. It offers the opportunity to ease into a lifestyle with continued structure and the support of like-minded peers. Whether coming right from treatment, or re-entering society from prison, recovery housing is an integral part of the process.

Long term sobriety is rarely achieved after only 30 days of treatment. A recovery housing program is a supportive bubble that nurtures a sober lifestyle through the people and resources associated with it. Sober living, in whatever form, connects us to a sustainable sober, healthy, and self-sufficient lifestyle.

The Business of Sober Housing

I entered the recovery housing business as a realtor looking for investment properties for a family member. I remember driving around Glendale in some rough neighborhoods, scrounging for deals. We found a property being run as a “halfway house” on a notorious street of halfway homes. The neighborhood was not the best choice for my uncle who lived out of state and I would be managing the property.
There were some rough looking guys walking up and down the street. All I could think of was how it would be to manage the property and collect fees on this street in the dark. But, neither of us ever shy away from a challenge.  We made an offer and bought two of the seller’s homes, both poorly  run as halfway houses. We refurbished them, put in new clients and management, talked to the city planners and with their blessing off we went.
I could have taken the sales commission and walked away, but I saw another opportunity — to give back to the next guy looking for support in sobriety. It has not been easy, but there is great reward in having a purpose and a mission. Soon after taking over operations we renamed ourselves “ViVRE” Recovery Housing; (a French phrase which means “to live.”)
I met with a friend who works for Adult Probation to pick his brain about the business. I liked the people, the mission, and creating innovative programs. To see someone fresh out of the prison system come to our program and flourish in sobriety with their head help up high was the reward.
My friend at probation said if you want to be in the halfway house business, you need to connect with Arizona Recovery Housing Association (AzRHA). They will be helpful for your startup and get you the resources and people you will need. That was the best advice for what has become a benchmark Ex-Offender Re-entry Program (ViVRE) with 110 beds and three facilities in a few short years. I’ve witnessed first hand the impact of AzRHA.
I’m honored to have served on every committee in AzRHA. Our meetings are filled with dedicated people who are truly in it for the right reasons. People with a shared goal to raise the bar for recovery housing. We joined AzRHA and their certification put our program on the map, with AZ Dept. of Corrections, Adult Probation, and raised our program standards for health and safety.

What is AzRHA?

AzRHA is a membership organization with a mission to set and maintain standards for quality and safety for residential recovery housing. Choosing an AzRHA member facility to reside in means choosing a program that meets a higher standard for quality. Formed by a small group of programs and stakeholders about 10 years ago, AzRHA has grown to a statewide organization representing over 1,500 beds of quality housing providers throughout our state.
We are honored to be partnering once again with Barbara Brown and Together AZ with our new sober living section. Here we will offer relevant and informative content related to our industry. Thank you for your support of this newspaper and our organizations!
For more information about AzRHA please visit http://azrha.info

Duane Mantey is President of the Board of Directors for ‘ViVRE Recovery Housing’ and serves on the Executive Committee for AzRHA.