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Vanderburgh House Policies

Resident & House Manager Handbook

Our home policies, practices, and procedures are detailed in the Resident Handbook, as well as the House Manager Handbook. To get the most from this Handbook, you must be very familiar with the both the Resident Handbook as well as the House Manager Handbook.


Home Policies

Locks & Codes: Homes are secured with a keypad lockset. The key codes can be changed using a master code. When residents leave or are terminated, the code should be changed. Familiarize yourself with how to change these codes and keep the codes and master code available in Buildium.

Thermostats: All thermostats should be set to reasonable temperatures throughout the day. Heat is very expensive, and conserving energy through responsible use of utilities is key to keeping costs low. Thermostat lock boxes should be in place with keys made for the House Manager and Operator.

Unused Prescription Medication: The Operator should be vigilant collecting and disposing of unused prescription medication. Unused medication should be collected from residents or the House Manager and disposed of at any local CVS or Walgreens pharmacy.

Home Setup: The home should always be in a “tour ready” condition, ready for new residents to move in, ready for outside individuals to tour, and ready for inspections from Vanderburgh House or other organizations. All areas in the home should be clean at all times. A few of the important items are below:

  • The check-in area should always have blank check-in forms and required posters and be free of clutter. Used check-in forms can be discarded after 30-days. House Managers should print blank forms or get them from the Operator
  • Trash should never accumulate anywhere in the home
  • Pathways to exits should always be clear in case of emergency
  • Empty beds should be made with sheets, pillows, and blankets
  • Residents’ personal areas and items should be clean and organized
  • In the summer the grass should always be mowed and walkways swept
  • In the winter, shoveling of driveways and sidewalks should be done immediately after snowstorms
  • Broken items in the home should be reported immediately

House Supplies: A House Supplies Budget must be funded by each resident and managed by the House Manager. Typically, residents will contribute between $5 and $10 per month, at the beginning of each month. Our detailed policy is in the House Manager Handbook.

Maintenance: Maintenance or repair items which are discovered should first be fixed by those in the home. Many small fixes can be done without requiring a repair person to visit to repair, including replacing lightbulbs, turning on tripped circuit breakers, touching up paint, replacing air filters, fixing clogged, etc.

Repair and maintenance concerns are organized through Buildium using the Tasks feature. New maintenance or repair requests can be added as Tasks and assigned to the appropriate user on Buildium for completion, who can indicate on each task the requirements, progress, upload photos, and indicate completed when it has been successfully completed.

Locks & Codes: Homes are secured with a keypad lockset. The key codes are able to be changed using a master code. When residents leave or are terminated, the code should be changed. Familiarize yourself with how to change these codes and keep the codes and master code available in Buildium.

Trash Disposal: Trash disposal is paid for by the Operator, separate from the house supplies budget.

High Energy Appliances: Air conditioners and other high-energy use appliances are allowed only under certain circumstances. Residents may use their own air conditions provided the House Manager has inspected and approved them. You must assess an additional charge to use these appliances as they consume a significant amount of electricity. Often, this charge is $10 per week per appliance. One resident must be responsible for paying for the unit even if the resident is in a multiple-occupancy room. In Buildium, go to the lease ledger of the responsible resident. Select “recurring charges” and “add a recurring charge” for “high-energy appliances fee income” in the amount of the fee and set the appropriate frequency. This will add charges to their ledger.

House Manager Overnight. House Managers are allowed to spend nights outside the home provided they give the Operator notice. You should make sure they have a plan in place for coverage in the event something comes up which requires a House Manager’s attention.

Discrimination: Vanderburgh House does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, marital status, genetic information, source of income, citizenship status, or arrest record. Everyone is treated equally and respectfully. Hate, disrespect, or negative comments or behavior towards other residents, Operators, Vanderburgh House, House Managers, or neighbors is grounds for termination.

Parole & Probation: Any residents who have parole or probation officers must provide us with their name, telephone number, and court information. Refusing to do so is grounds for termination. Probation and parole officers may be notified of any non-negative drug screen results or other issues depending on the circumstances.

Pets: Any residents who have dogs who are friendly, and house trained may have visits from their pets. Overnight visits of pets are allowed on a case-by-case basis. Emotional support animals are allowed on a case by case basis. We must make reasonable accommodations for service animals as required by law.


Medication Policies

Prescription Medication: Residents are allowed prescribed medication with certain restrictions. Residents must take medication exactly as prescribed and must provide verification of all prescriptions and notify House Manager each time a prescription is filled. House Managers conduct random pill counts for all residents. Residents must purchase a lockbox to hold all medication and the lockbox must be approved by the House Manager, or use a locker provided by the Operator. Regardless of medication, residents must be able to function normally and participate fully as a resident in the home without requiring a higher level of care.

Controlled Medication: We recognize that controlled medication can put other residents at risk. Residents who are prescribed controlled medication and wish to possess this medication in the home must do so with additional restrictions. We may require the resident to keep their medication lockbox secured in the House Manager’s room with supervised administration, or we may require the medication is stored in a secure area with video surveillance (i.e. lockers in a common area with a video camera recording activity). All controlled medication will be counted and logged in the resident’s file. All prescription refills must be disclosed to the House Manager within 24 hours. We reserve the right to create additional restrictions on controlled medication.

Medication Policy Rationale: We cannot legally discriminate against residents prescribed medication by licensed physicians for medical conditions. As such, we must comply with the law while taking every precaution necessary to keep our homes safe.


Operator Policies

Travel Policy: It is our policy to limit non-essential work-related travel. In being good stewards of our environment, we recognize the impact of transportation on the environment and wish to limit this impact by limiting in-person meetings where possible. We help limit the need for in-person meetings using Zoom software. This software allows for group video conferencing, screen sharing, and other collaboration. Video meetings should be conducted in lieu of in-person meetings wherever possible.


Travel Safety: We take travel safety very, very seriously. When driving any vehicle, yours or company owned as applicable, we ask you to drive safely, following all traffic rules and being alert and attentive. Do not text and drive. Work, even work emergencies, should not take priority to your safe driving. We cannot be held liable for any injury, damage, or loss relating to your driving.


Volunteering: We ask Operators to look for opportunities to volunteer for NARR-affiliated or other recovery related organization. Sitting on the board of the state certifying body is a great way for us to give back to our recovery community as a sober house.


Employing Residents: We recommend that you do not employ residents, directly or indirectly.


Cleaning Products: We ask Operators use non-toxic janitorial products, unbleached and chlorine free paper products, low VOC inks, and recycled office supplies (paper, pens), when possible.


Third-Party Vendors: When hiring third-party vendors, make sure to follow hiring best practices, including checking references, verifying liability and worker’s compensation insurance, collecting a Form W-9, and always working with a clearly written contract defining the services, payment, and timeline for completing the requested work. Vendors should all be entered into Buildium with full contact information and tax ID number for filing 1099 forms at the end of the year.


Printing: Printing should be limited wherever possible. In the event items need to be printed, try to print double sided.


Donations of Items: We recommend that you gladly accept donations of household items, provided they are in good shape, work as intended, are clean, and do not pose any sort of hazard. Unacceptable items include: Mattresses, televisions, furniture with padding (due to risk of bugs), non-working appliances, opened or expired food items, etc.



Approved Suppliers

The Operator is responsible for purchasing all required items for the home or homes. This would include all office and home related costs and expenses, supplies, tools, etc. We have set a list of Approved Suppliers and maintain this list to ensure the success of our Operators and consistency of products and services across all of our homes.

Homes may maintain a house supplies budget funded by the residents, but the Operator is ultimately responsible for the home having what it needs to survive. Operators may have discretion in what to purchase and how often to purchase items, including supplementing the house supplies budget.


Brand Standards

All use of the Vanderburgh House brand or likeness must follow our set of standards for use of our brand, image, logos, graphics, etc. This information is contained in our Brand Style Guide.


Naming Standards

Our brand name is Vanderburgh House, but your home(s) will have its own name. For example, the Germain Home is a home is operated by Operator, LLC.  Your home name should be stylized as follows:


Germain Home: a Vanderburgh House Recovery Community



Personal Standards

When using the Vanderburgh House brand for your business, we you to conduct yourself in a professional, courteous, and diligent manner. The way you dress, speak, and carry yourself has a major impact on how the Vanderburgh House brand is perceived, and ultimately, your success as an organization.


Dress Code

Meetings with outsiders (outreach, tours, business meetings, etc.) warrant a business formal or business casual dress. For men, this would typically be slacks, tie-up formal shoes, belt, button-down shirt, tie, and sport coat. Business casual would be without the tie and sport coat. For women, this would be a suit or dress, slacks, or other attire appropriate for the event. When not expecting a meeting with outsiders, semi-casual dress is appropriate. We ask that hoodies, graphic tee-shirts, ripped or soiled clothing, or other casual attire is not worn at any times.


Rental Rates

Typically, rental rates are set based on what the market will bear. This should take into account other sober living homes, other temporary housing, and other alternative living arrangements. What we have found is that sober living rates in shared rooms cost about 15% of the median gross rent for a given area on a weekly basis. For example, the city of Worcester, Massachusetts has a median gross rent rate, as shown on the Census Bureau website, of approximately $1,070. At 15%, this makes the rental rate of $160 per week for a shared room about average.

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