Recovery Community Centre and Recovery Café Models

The Recovery Community Centre (RCC) and Recovery Café model will provide a meaningful sense of belonging and connection to a positive peer group, while creating opportunities to help those coming up behind them.

Many Vancouverites go from participating in intensive and expensive outpatient or live-in recovery programs, where they have access to a multitude of program supports and 24-7 peer support, to the opposite extreme – fully detaching from these supports and becoming relatively isolated within not only their familiar home community, but also their newfound recovery community.

Compounding feelings of disconnection are challenges in learning to avoid the usual people, places and things when returning to everyday life following treatment. Some individuals develop a self-care plan and may arrange follow-up appointments with a physician and/or attend a self-help group or two; however, many individuals struggle and are often discouraged when neither a good fit, nor a sense of belonging are experienced in their home community.


Recovery Community Centres

Recovery Community Centres (RCC) are a unique model of community-based recovery support that has spread from coast to coast across the United States. RCCs are typically run by a paid director however; they are essentially peer-led centers that serve as local resources of community-based recovery support. Services may include: a variety of mutual aid meetings (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery); telephone support; peer recovery coaching; social gatherings and recreational opportunities; life skills development workshops and navigation of local recovery resources as well as social services, education and skills training, and employment and volunteer opportunities. The supportive relationships developed among individuals in recovery along with a personalized toolkit of resources help individuals initiate and sustain recovery over time.


The Recovery Café

The Recovery Café model is really an entry level RCC for those who have lived experience of homelessness or continue to be at risk of homelessness. The model will fill a void in the recovery services and support continuum. The seven RCC-like sites are a big step for many and the up to two-year support program available at a Recovery Café can contribute to an improved transition to RCC-like sites. The Recovery Café is a supportive community for individuals in recovery from homelessness, poverty, isolation, addictions, and/or other mental health challenges. It delivers a community of belonging for its members through a set of core interventions:

  • Recovery circles – small groups of peers that share individual goal setting, progress reporting and support along the way,
  • School of Recovery – Life skill development activities and classes,
  • Nutritious lunch and dinner services five days a week, and
  • Navigation to needed community services and resources.


Streetohome identified seven RCC-like sites currently operating in the Greater Vancouver Area. After researching the RCC model (i.e., conducting a current state analysis of each Vancouver-area site; searching published academic literature for an evidence base underlying the model, and participating in a study tour of two successful models on the U.S. West Coast), a business case was developed. Two new directions for Streetohome were derived from the business case:

  1. Exploring opportunities to work with the seven existing RCC-like sites to enhance individual site operations and connections with the addiction recovery service system in the Greater Vancouver Area (i.e., Homelessness Prevention), and
  2. Exploring opportunities to broker and leverage the spread of a Recovery Café model in the Greater Vancouver Area (i.e., homelessness services system enhancement that provides additional pathways out of homelessness in Vancouver).