WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to transitional housing for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder or mental health crisis.

The Supporting Transition And Recovery Through (START) Housing Act strengthens and expands the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Recovery Housing Program (RHP) to all states. This important program, which funds transitional drug or alcohol-free housing with peer support for people in recovery, is currently limited to 24 states and the District of Columbia. 

“To encourage the chance of recovery from substance use disorders, individuals facing these mental health challenges must have access to safe and affordable housing,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force. “Our bipartisan Supporting Transition And Recovery Through (START) Housing Act reauthorizes critical funding for the Recovery Housing Program (RHP), further expanding access to housing for Americans in recovery from substance use disorders, and I am grateful for Congresswoman Bonamici’s partnership on this important mental health issue.”

“Stable housing plays an essential role in recovering from substance use disorders, but there are too many barriers that put people in recovery at risk of homelessness,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.  “Increasing access to recovery housing will make a difference to people in recovery and to our communities. I’m grateful to work with my colleague Rep. Fitzpatrick to introduce the bipartisan START Housing Act to make the successful Recovery Housing Program available to people in Oregon and across the country.”

The legislation is supported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Council for Mental Wellbeing, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Bipartisan Policy Center Action.

“Too often, individuals in substance use recovery experience housing insecurity. The Recovery Housing Program is a crucial program assisting people in recovery to help them receive secure, stable transitional housing. Rep. Bonamici and Fitzpatrick’s START Housing Act will reauthorize and strengthen this crucial program,” said Hannah Wesolowski, Chief Advocacy Officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “NAMI is proud to support this important legislation that will support people in their recovery.”

“The Recovery Housing Program, initially enacted as part of the SUPPORT Act of 2018, has proven invaluable in fostering a safe and healthy living environment for individuals on the path to recovery from substance use disorders,” said Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of BPC Action. “BPC Action commends the efforts of Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in introducing the START Housing Act, which would reauthorize and build upon the Recovery Housing Program. By extending the program's reach to encompass more states and incorporating provisions to address the needs of chronically unsheltered individuals, the START Housing Act is poised to amplify the program's achievements and disrupt challenges of addiction recovery for many Americans. The START Housing Act also echoes the position of BPC’s J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy, that bipartisan policies are needed to ensure that homelessness in the United States is a rare, brief, and one-time occurrence; and BPC’s Health Program’s position to further expand access to addiction treatment and recovery.”