Oxford House has helped privately owned homes nationwide rent to people in early recovery from addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness since 1975. Prospective residents self-refer and are selected by current residents. Residents maintain their self-defined program of recovery for the duration. Congregate living and collective by residents purchasing keep rents very low – $200 per month – and sustainable. Average stay at Oxford House is 7.5 months.
Over 200 Oxford Houses are operating in the Portland / Vancouver Metro area housing over 1500 people – over 350 people in Clark County alone – considerably more than any other public housing effort.
In the Fall of 2019, the 90 year old owner of Oxford House Hendrick put the 3010 square foot mid-century ranch-style house in Vancouver up for sale. Nine women in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness were immediately at risk of homelessness, relapse, losing jobs, and losing access to their children, and for some losing their freedom – unless it remained a recovery home.
Washington Recovery Services had reviewed recovery housing efforts and found abundant research showing Oxford House to be a most effective and least expensive business model. Learning of the crisis at Oxford House Hendrick, the organization turned for help from conventional and specialty lenders, community development corporations, public housing experts and housing agencies. Each was unavailable or unable or plain unwilling to help.
With urgency, the organization sought private contributions to buy the home. Private donors were enthusiastic about Oxford House and recovery housing, and generously gave beyond the initial request to assure Oxford House Hendrick would be repaired, renovated, and available for women in early recovery from alcoholism and addiction for many years at zero cost to taxpayers.
Price per square foot
|Community Foundation for Southwest Washington
The Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund
$108 – roughly one-quarter the cost of most publicly financed housing.
The Recovery Home model is almost infinitely replicable. Housing stock is readily available – especially in suburban areas and smaller towns which can’t muster large public housing projects. Rents pay down mortgages and are sufficient to provide ongoing maintenance. Recovery Homes are residences – not facilities; residents are not tenants, yet have special protections from the Federal Fair Housing Act and in state law. NIMBY issues are almost non-existent. Evictions going to court are rare. Oxford House staff are available and capable to support and advise home owners as needed and manage resident issues.
Based on our research & experience, we urge philanthropists to invest in the recovery homes using the Oxford House model.
- The Oxford House Experiment – Washington Post
- Evaluation of Oxford House in Washington State in 2009
- Doubling down on a solution for homelessness – The Oregonian