We Are Virginia’s Unified Voice for Recovery Housing

Our mission is to set high levels of standards for quality recovery residences in Virginia and accredit residences that meet such rigorous criteria in order to support persons in recovery with information and access to recovery residences bound together by the core principles of standards, ethics, and unity.

Vision Statement

As Virginia’s only NARR accredited body, VARR monitors, evaluates, and improves standards to build the highest level of quality for recovery residences; so all Virginian’s have timely access to effective recovery support services.

History of VARR

VARR as a concept began in 2012 under direction and guidance of John Shinholser of the McShin Foundation as a means to provide oversight and standards of quality for recovery residences throughout Virginia. VARR was created under the umbrella of NARR (National Association of Recovery Residences), a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the availability of well-operated, ethical and supportive recovery housing. NARR has developed the most widely referenced national standard for the operation of recovery residences and work with and support 30 state affiliate organizations.

However, over the years, VARR experienced challenges with an inconsistent board of directors, lack of funding, and no full-time staff member to support the organization and its operations.

In 2017, expansion of VARR was seen with a new board of Directors, David Rook, a volunteer Executive Director, Kate Gilreath, and active board members to include continued support from John Shinholser, and others, such as Dr. Sarah Scarbrough. Continued expansion included developing a partnership and support with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, as well as other community stakeholders. Through this, VARR was able to help guide efforts for state certification of recovery homes in 2018.

In mid-2019, after reviewing many applications and conducting several interviews, VARR is excited to announce hiring of the first full time and paid Executive Director, Anthony Grimes.
Anthony has years of experience in direct work with recovery residences, as well as being in recovery himself. With Anthony, VARR is excited to continue its work and watch it elevate even further to support recovery residences in Virginia, as well as those seeking safe, stable, and sober housing.

Woman and child

What We Do

  • Create, monitor, evaluate, and continually improve recovery residence standards and measures of quality;
  • Accredit recovery residences who meet criteria and standards of VARR;
  • A voice for social model recovery programs in Virginia, which includes recovery treatment programs that provide housing to clients;
  • Ensure ethical practices by members;
  • Maintain a forum for exchanging ideas, lending support, problem solving, and developing new and existing residential programs;
  • Provide community education and member training that enhances competency and individual growth of residents, their families, and peer recovery supports along with facility staff, volunteers and others in the recovery community;
  • Promote recovery within the community;
  • Ensure quality and safe recovery residences, through our annual re-accreditation processes.

More About VARR

  • Strives to ensure integrity of Virginia’s recovery residences and the program services they provide to addicts and alcoholics in need.
  • Recognizes that recovery takes time and that residential support has many facets, yet residences are required to follow standards and best practices.
  • Affirms the necessity of a continuum of care to adequately address the total needs of the addicted community, which housing being a large component in the continuum.
  • VARR Member Accreditation and Re-Accreditation: This set of standards is adopted from the National Alliance of Recovery Residences’ guidelines, but has been refined by VARR’s Board of Directors, in order to ensure the highest level of integrity is present.
  • The accreditation process begins when the application is received in the VARR office. Upon receipt of application a site visit will be scheduled and performed by a member of the VARR staff or Board of Directors. No claims of approval can be made until the Standard Survey is completed and approved by VARR Board of Directors.
  • Upon approval, members should display their VARR certificate, “Member of the Virginia Association of Recovery Residences” in all facility literature. Certificate of membership should be displayed in the facility. A link to the VARR website should be inserted in the facility website home page.