Sober living homes offer supportive, stable housing for people who are overcoming a substance use disorder or addiction. These homes are best suited for those who have already gone through a rehabilitation program, especially an inpatient program. Once the program ends, the sober living home offers the individual a transitional living situation as they create a daily routine without drugs or alcohol. This daily routine typically involves finding and maintaining employment or developing job skills through an education program.
Sober living homes, of course, have fees associated with them, and residents are expected to pay their rent on time each month. Oftentimes, an upfront security deposit is also required.
Generally, it is expected that the person entering sober living will find a job if they do not have one they can return to. This employment should cover the individual’s expenses. When a person leaves a rehabilitation program, however, they have likely focused on the program and do not have a source of income immediately. There are other additional options to help cover the costs of a sober living program.
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- Insurance: Although insurance companies will likely pay for the costs of a rehabilitation program, very few cover costs associated with sober living homes. However, if insurance covered the costs of the rehabilitation program, the person can ask if some costs, like medical care or therapy, will continue to be covered if they are part of a sober living environment.
- Government housing assistance by state: The government website, gov, lists housing assistance programs by state. While this is primarily for people who are transitioning from homelessness or families experiencing a housing crisis, some programs may be able to offer financial assistance for those entering a sober living home.
- Unemployment: Some people entering a sober living home may qualify for unemployment. Different states regulate qualifications differently, so look into local laws regarding how local unemployment offices determine eligibility. In some cases, a person in a sober living home may only be able to find part-time employment, which can cover some costs. Unemployment benefits may be able to cover the rest of the cost of living while the individual attends therapy, seeks higher-paying employment, and/or pursues educational opportunities or job retraining.
- Disability: People who have disabilities related to their addiction may qualify for disability income, either through their state of residence or through federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, the definition of this qualification is very strict, so it is beneficial to consult an SSDI attorney. In many cases, people who qualify for SSDI may be too disabled to successfully live independently in a sober living home. These individuals likely qualify for other kinds of housing, however.
- Grants: A person entering sober living may qualify for a grant to help cover their medical and living expenses. Grant programs through government agencies or nonprofits are available for qualifying individuals. However, applying for a grant takes time, and receiving income from the grant also takes time, so the person should consider other options for short-term income.
- Free homes: Some sober living homes are free, or free for the first few weeks or months of residence. This is a step to help people just out of rehabilitation find work, while ensuring they have a safe place to live. Some nonprofit organizations like Cornerstone Care Centers also offer assistance finding financial aid or free homes.
Private Payment for Sober Living Homes
It is more likely that a person entering a sober living home will pay with their own private funds when they first enter the living arrangement. Ultimately, the person should find employment and use that income to cover the costs of the residence, just like they would if they lived entirely on their own. Before the person finds a job, however, there are some options to help pay for the sober living home privately.
- Personal savings: If the person entering sober living has savings, this money can cover initial expenses like rent, food, and utilities at the sober living home.
- Friends and family: Living in a sober living environment offers residents the chance to show they can become independent, which helps mend relationships with friends and family that may have been damaged by the individual’s addiction. Family members and friends may be willing to financially assist the person for a short time, so they can find employment while living in a supportive, sober environment.
- Crowdfunding: Since social media is intensely popular, many people may turn to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, YouCaring, or GiveForward to help cover their treatment costs. This can include inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, and the first weeks or months of rent in a sober living home while the person seeks employment. Once the project is created on the crowdfunding website, the person can repost the information on social media sites, which alerts friends to the person’s need.
- Credit: Some residents may have a high-limit credit card, which they can work on paying down after they find employment.
Get a Safe, Sober Start on Life
People entering a sober living home have many options to finance their initial stay while working toward gainful employment. Avoiding debt as much as possible is important during this time, because the stress of being in debt through a loan or credit card can potentially trigger a relapse, which would lead to eviction from the sober living home. If the sober living facility does not offer job retraining help or credit counseling, the person may consider finding this help outside of the home as a step to growing and maintaining independence.