In 2007, eight sober home operators established the nonprofit Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing. Legislation in 2014 created voluntary certification of Massachusetts sober homes, and MASH began managing voluntary statewide sober home certification in 2016.
In 2011, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) established national standards for recovery residences (including sober housing). These standards were developed using a collaborative approach with input from regional and national recovery housing organizations. MASH is an affiliate of NARR and used these standards to create Massachusetts standards for certified sober homes. NARR has since released two updates to the standards, first in October 2015 and then in 2018. The third version of the NARR standards provides more explicit guidance to providers, including metrics for evaluating the peer support components of a residence’s recovery environment.
Effective September 1, 2016, state agencies and their vendors are only able to refer clients to certified alcohol and drug-free (ADF) housing. In accordance with this requirement, MASH serves as the primary agency for accountability of all certified homes in Massachusetts. Our organization also provides supervision and training for sober homes, and maintains a database of more than 180 MASH-certified sober homes.
MASH’s recovery values emphasize health, home, purpose, and community. Successful sober homes establish and reinforce healthy lifestyles, provide a safe and stable place to live, conduct meaningful activities, and build relationships and social networks for support. Through our network of certified sober housing and empirically based recovery principles, MASH’s goal is to help create and foster these safe living environments for those with substance use disorders.