As a response to the growing need for sober housing for those exiting incarceration, REAL Life opened a recovery house for men in April of 2017. Opened initially for men released from The REAL Program inside of the Richmond City Justice Center (jail), after opening the Community Center, the house is also available to men accessing services through the REAL LIFE Community Center (RLCC).
Upon entering The REAL House, men go through intake at the RLCC and a criminogenic risk assessment that is administered with an assigned case manager. This enables us to identify their highest risk and needs factors associated with re-offending and/or re-using substances. From this, the case plan will be developed, which addresses their identified risk and needs factors. Residents are expected to partake in what is outlined in their case plan (i.e. groups, classes, services) and begin to make progress and perform community service, before job search begins. Once the case manager believes the individual is ready to seek employment, a job is generally secured within two weeks due to the assistance of RLCC staff.
Men coming to the house are also met with orientation from the live-in house manager and receive a hygiene pack and food. We assess the need for cell phones and bus tickets and immediately work to get them to social services type of services they may qualify for.
During their time in the house, they are required to do weekly community service, attend recovery based meetings and REAL Life events each week, and ensure the cleanliness of the house. They are also subject to regular and random drug screenings.
After six months in the house, the men should be ready to move into independent living, such as an apartment of their own. They will have a bank account and money saved, which will enable them to do so. Upon completion of The REAL House, men typically come back to mentor those coming behind them.