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How N.H.’s housing crisis is affecting addiction recovery efforts

Recovery houses – in which multiple adults live in a shared space, sometimes with supervision – are in high demand and low supply, impacting access in New Hampshire

Lynda Brooks stands with others on the porch of an addiction recovery house in St. Louis on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — The housing shortage in New Hampshire has ripple effects on other issues in the state. Addiction recovery is one of them.

Kim Bock is the executive director of New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences. Her organization certifies recovery houses, and she explained why housing is so vital to recovery.

Bock said when people are in active addiction, they isolate themselves from friends, family, and work. Recovery houses – in which multiple adults live in a shared space, sometimes with supervision – are designed to be an antidote to that isolation.

“What recovery housing does is it teaches that person how to live again in really healthy relationships with other people,” she said. In turn, those relationships help people maintain their recovery from addiction long-term, she said.

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The homes are modeled after a family living situation. They must have a kitchen where people can cook, a place for sharing meals, and a communal space, like a living room. Bock said people who live there typically have weekly “accountability meetings” to discuss treatment and set goals. They celebrate birthdays and other milestones, like reunification with their children.

Bock said if someone can stay in recovery housing for six months to a year, they have a 60 percent greater chance of attaining long-term recovery.

New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences was formed in 2017 by a group of homeowners who wanted to set standards for recovery houses. Without rules and regulations for these living situations, vulnerable residents could suffer set-backs and even relapse. Bock said the organization has since certified 96 houses around the state, and also provides mediation services if there’s a complaint against one of the homes.

The housing crisis in New Hampshire means demand for housing in general is high – but demand for recovery housing is particularly acute. Most recovery houses have an 18-person waiting list, according to Bock. And she said there are no certified recovery houses in the North Country.

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In 2024, she’s eyeing an expansion into both Rockingham County and Coos County.

“There’s a huge demand,” she said.


This story first appeared in Globe NH | Morning Report, our free newsletter focused on the news you need to know about New Hampshire, including great coverage from the Boston Globe and links to interesting articles from other places. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.


Amanda Gokee can be reached at amanda.gokee@globe.com. Follow her @amanda_gokee.