Group Home Supportive Living Initiative - IDHS 4501

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Group Home Supportive Living Initiative

The Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (IDHS/DASA) is always searching for new ideas and performance-driven programs to improve the quality of services offered to clients by gaining insight into the complexities of the recovery process. Providing the needed assistance in finding a sober-living environment in which to continue recovery is an important service and a key component of the recovery process. Programs like, The Group Home Supportive Living Initiative, using the "Oxford House Model" is one of several cornerstones for most individuals in recovery. The program gives the person an opportunity for low-income permanent housing during the re-adaptation stage of becoming self-supportive and self-sufficient.

Studies have revealed the benefits of communal living, which includes lower relapse rates that result in individuals becoming productive members of society once again. Researchers' findings categorically attest to the benefits of the Oxford House way of life for these individuals, and IDHS/DASA will continue to work with service providers and collaborate with other organizations willing to acknowledge the "whole person concept" in the recovery process. It is evident that the recovering person may have a variety of needs on his or her journey to attain the ultimate goal of sobriety, but one thing is certain - - housing is crucial.

Supportive Living Initiative

(Oxford House Model)

The initiative began in 1992 as part of the IDHS /DASA's Community based funding program. The initiative was the direct response to a Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) block grant requirement for the development of group homes for self-supporting drug free living. The program model reflected the newly emerging Oxford Home concept. In Federal year 2003 the SAPT regulations were modified removing the requirement that the single State authority (IDHS /DASA) maintain the group home loan program as a condition of receiving the Federal SAPT block grant funds. This change prompted IDHS /DASA to discontinue the funding of the group home loan program since sufficient outcome data at the time did not support its continuation.

In SFY 2007 two studies conducted by a team of researchers (Bradley D. Olson, Leonard A. Jason, Joseph R. Ferrari, Tresza D. Hutcheson) at DePaul University's Center for Community Research, concluded that individuals in recovery from substance use disorders or alcoholism, who lived together in self-governance residential settings, obtained an abstinence rate of 65% to 87% over the 24 month period of the studies. This research has shown a positive correlation between maintaining a recovery lifestyle from substance use disorders for residents of group living settings like Oxford House group homes, and the ability to suspend a substance use disorder or alcoholism. This research provides an evidence-based approach towards the re-establishment of the Group Home Supportive Living Initiative.

The Oxford House model is a democratically run, self-supporting and drug free home setting. Entry on a limited basis may be accessible to individuals following a successful completion of a treatment episode from a IDHS /DASA licensed provider and others in recovery. Oxford House is a nationally known non-profit organization whose charters/chapters assist recovering individuals in the development of independently governed community based group housing.

The Group Home Supportive Living Initiative is an effort by IDHS /DASA to support the development of community based supportive group living settings modeled after the Oxford House concept. This initiative will help improve a system that often overlooks the negative impact of homelessness on the cycles of substance use disorders and recidivism. IDHS /DASA will provide limited start-up funds to support the development of these new supportive group living settings.

In addition, IDHS /DASA will focus on enhancing the collaboration between IDHS/DASA funded treatment providers and new, or existing Illinois based Oxford House group homes. This collaboration includes organizations that provide education, training, and employment opportunities to Oxford House residents.


The supportive housing developed by the initiative should be in high-risk communities where housing is a major factor in getting peoples lives back on track.

The Goals for the initiative are to:

1) Enhance access to quality housing for low-income men, women, and children in need of housing to support family members long-term recovery from substance use disorder.

2) Make the necessary one time funding available each year, to qualified landlords not to exceed a set minimum amount for each loan for a two-year period in order to expand housing in Illinois, based Oxford House model.

3) Provide trained outreach workers to teach others the knowledge required to establish and or maintain an Oxford House and support activities to local corporations with the goal of opening at least ten (10) with a maximum of twenty (20) new group home living sites per year.

4) Establish a minimum of ten (10) houses each year. Increase the number of referrals by IDHS/DASA funded providers to Oxford House settings each year.

5) Facilitate collaboration between treatment providers, Oxford House International, governmental agencies, and the business community in providing training, education, and employment opportunities for recovering individuals.

Maslow`s Hierarchy of Needs

Self-actualization - morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts

Esteem - self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others

Love/Belonging - friendship, family, sexual intimacy

Safety - security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, of property

Physiological - breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion

Privileges and Responsibilities

As a member of the Oxford House you have the privilege and responsibility to:

Expect and maintain a safe, alcohol and drug free environment.

Vote on all issue even if it involves you.

Expect all members of the family to continue the program of Recovery.

Expect equality despite the length of sobriety or residency.

Know and question the financial condition of all house accounts.

Act as a family and to treat each other with respect and dignity.

Bring your concerns to the family, and freely share your experience, strength, and hope.

(Oxford House Inc., 1988, John Molloy)

For more information on Oxford House International visit there website at:

For more information on the Group Home Supportive Living Initiative

contact: 312-814-2311 or 312-814-6425

Or visit the IDHS Website at and click on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Resources to view a list of Oxford House locations in Illinois.

Illinois Department of Human Services

Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

1-866-213-0548 (toll-free Voice)

1-866-843-7344 (toll-free TTY)

If you have questions about any other Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) program, call or visit your local IDHS office. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your local IDHS office is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:


1-866-324-5553 (TTY)

You may speak to a representative between:

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

For answers to your questions, you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services

Bureau of Customer and Support Services

100 South Grand Avenue East, 2nd Floor

Springfield, Illinois 62762

Visit our website at:

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4501 (R-06-15) DASA Group Home Supportive Living Initiative

Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois. PO #15-2117 150 copies