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Message from M-ROCC’s CEO & Founder

Greetings and thank you for your interest in learning more about our supportive housing subsidiary, Maryland State Association for Recovery Residences (M-SARR)

In addition to providing thousands of uninsured and under-insured Marylanders with access to affordable healthcare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the federal level and behavioral health integration in Maryland has also shined light on related issues of substance use and mental illness in Maryland. Recent events related to gun violence in a Maryland suburb and news of an alarming increase in opiate overdoses across the state have served to increase the public conscience and discourse on both issues. It is important to remember addiction and mental illness have been defined as “chronic” (diseases) in nature, similar to other chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.  

Maryland is poised to achieve full integration of behavioral health (substance use and mental health) services starting in July 2014. As a State, Maryland has much to be proud of, the response with increased resources (funding) and services to meet the increasing demand for mental health and addiction services across the State. That said, increased access and services represents just one side of the story.

A little publicized but very real fact is that everyday thousands of men and women across our State prepare to resume life in the community, following receiving successful treatment. Many re-enter life in the community without the benefit of having access to basic community supports and services, critical for someone starting their “journey of recovery “.  Most will agree having a roof over one’s head is one of the most essential of basic human needs.

“Supportive Housing” programs (Recovery Residences) continue to play a critical role, in supporting men/women and families seeking safe, affordable housing as part of their recovery initiation and journey. Supportive Housing programs established based on a recovery or health and wellness approach/model exist as the safety net. This safety net, the programs have and continue to fulfill the critical need of housing and supportive services following interventions for behavioral health. M-SARR believes there are hundreds of supportive housing programs in existence in Maryland and provides all levels of residential support. While supportive housing programs have and continue to serve as the bedrock/foundation from which many men and women go on from to thrive in recovery, ability to access mainstream or traditional funding, with which to support,  sustain and even expand programs continues to lag behind. 

The pending phase-out of funding through  SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) “Access to Recovery (ATR) program in June (2014), presents as an excellent opportunity to both welcome and fully integrate (and fund) supportive housing as a true and welcomed safety net partner as we seek to expand Maryland’s “continuum of care”. In Maryland, increased demand for safe affordable housing  post-treatment, and the systems (treatment)  undeclared, but very real, dependence on supportive housing programs as a referral source suggests Maryland might be ready to explore opportunities to provide “incentive-based” financial support to supportive housing providers through implementing a direct-grant or fee-for-service system.

To my friends in the supportive housing community I have said all along and will continue to say funding, while critical to a program’s sustainability, represents just the tip of the iceberg on our needs as an industry. While the demand has and continues to grow for programs and services such as the ones you offer, there is much work to be done we are to realize full integration, and more important respectability.  As an industry we must be willing to tackle and address issues related to uniformity (standards), accountability, quality, our impact on communities and especially the effectiveness of supportive housing.

As a field we are lacking a universal set of standards for our programs, as well as an established and widely promulgated supportive housing “Code of Ethics”. A goal for M-SARR is to develop a unified and amplified voice of the supportive housing and recovery communities as a “constituency of consequence” in advocating for our residents, our programs and for the behavioral health system. The Maryland State Association for Recovery Residences (M-SARR) was created to address the challenges, opportunities and organize supportive housing programs across the state as a membership association. 

Membership in M-SARR is comprised of recovery residence/supportive housing programs from across Maryland. Membership in, and affiliation with, M-SARR promotes industry accountability, enhances professional legitimacy and strengthens advocacy efforts in support of the organized supportive housing industry in Maryland. Most importantly, the M-SARR Standard assures those we serve that they have a safe community residence that promotes recovery and health and wellness. Membership in M-SARR includes peer run houses, supportive/transitional/recovery housing programs, as well as licensed halfway housing programs.

All housing providers are eligible to apply for membership in M-SARR. For more information or to apply for membership please visit How to Become a Member.

To learn more about Maryland Recovery Organization Connecting Communities (M-ROCC) visit  Who Are We

Yours in service,