Vanderburgh Communities Platform

Vanderburgh Communities offers a platform of services to our Chartered Operators. The Vanderburgh Sober Living system includes training, support services, funding, and administrative systems to help our Operators be successful. This platform is our way of supporting the success of our Operators and furthering our mission to see more and to see better housing opportunities for men and women in recovery.

We exist to ensure the success of our Chartered Operators

What We Offer

Professional Training

Our training services are truly comprehensive, ranging from how to impact your guests, how to train House Mentors, how to handle emergency situations, outreach best practices, and how to run a profitable business, file taxes, and navigate the regulatory landscape.

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Real Estate

Real estate acquisition is often the most significant roadblock for new operators. Our solution is to work with you to find the home(s) you want in the community you want to serve. You agree to lease the home, and we work with our affiliated impact real estate fund to buy the home, renovate the home, furnish the home, and provide it to you on a long-term lease.

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Reaching and impacting the lives of those in recovery is a difficult task, but building and running a business in order to do so is even more difficult. Our System is a complete home-in-a-box. This system includes all handbooks, template documents, certification support, software, policies, guest and House Mentor resources, and other back-end resources.

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Support & Services

We are here to support our Operators every step of the way. Our Operators have unlimited access to our team, our resources, our software, advice, and support. Our Operators are branded as Vanderburgh House recovery communities, accessing our marketing, website, print media, and outreach support services.

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What does it cost to open a sober living home?

Charter Membership: As of 2024, Vanderburgh Sober Living has reorganized as a non-profit organization. VSL no longer charges fees for Charter membership. Instead, our operations rely on the generosity of our donors and optional a-la-carte Operator-support services.
Professional Training: We do charge a fee for comprehensive training, if desired. This fee is negotiable and will be dependent on the level of training requested. Typically, this ranges from $2,000 to $5,000.
$3,000 - $24,000 Site Lease Deposit. Estimated up-front real estate lease costs, including first month's payment, last month's payment, and security deposit.
$4,000 - $18,000 Leasehold Improvements, Furnishings, & Supplies. Home fixtures and furnishing. Some homes may be leased with furnishing, which is recommended. **Note: Operators who lease from VSL-affiliated real estate providers often have these costs covered by the real estate provider**
$ 0 - $1,000 Computer Hardware & Services
$ 500 - $1,000 Initial Drug Screening Supplies
$1,000 - $4,500 Architectural Review **This cost is included in all VSL-affiliate leases**
$ 0 - $4,000 Office Supplies & Equipment
$500 - $2,000 Training-Related Travel, Lodging & Meals (if coming from out-of-state)
$500 - $3,500 Pre-Opening Advertising
$500 - $6,000 Estimated Cost to Meet NARR-Affiliate Certification Requirements **This cost is included in all VSL-affiliate leases**
$500 - $2,500 Insurance Deposits and Premiums
$0 - $2,000 Utility Deposits
$1,000 - $4,000 Professional Fees (forming a legal entity, etc.)
$4,500 - $10,000+ Recommended Reserves (3 months+/-)

Ongoing Fees

In addition to normal operating costs of the home, Vanderburgh Communities charges an Ongoing Service Fee and administers a Marketing Fund in service of all Vanderburgh House homes. These fees are additional to other operating costs.

Charter Maintenance Fee

Our Charter Maintenance Fee is a percentage of revenue collected, paid monthly, to cover our costs of our support of your organization, shared services like software and website maintenance, and our support staff who are accessible to our Operators as needed.

Marketing Fund

Each Vanderburgh House Chartered Operator contributes to a marketing fund. These funds are spent only on marketing the Vanderburgh House chartered homes through web, print, social media, search, and paid advertising activities. We look to our Operators for input on how we should spend these funds in service of the Vanderburgh House homes.



Earn-In Opportunity

We recognize that many well-qualified potential Operators may have limited financial resources to invest in starting a business. To promote business ownership and to provide an opportunity to qualified Operators who want to embark on a journey of opening a sober living business, we have created a new earn-in opportunity for opening a sober house.

For qualified Operators who do not have sufficient funds available to open a business right away, we offer an opportunity for these Operators to open a business with us on an earn-in basis for a set period of time. We will work collaboratively with them as if they were a Chartered Operator, but we will fund the entirety of the startup costs associated with the business. Over a term of 6, 9, or 12 months, we will structure an earn-in opportunity where the Operator will open the home and business, receive a stipend during the term of the earn-in, and upon reaching mutual goals and completion of the earn-in period, will be granted 100% ownership of the business.

This affords an Operator the opportunity to open their business at our expense and pay for it over time through part-time work in their business, and no monetary payment. We will work together to calculate estimated start-up costs for the business, Vanderburgh Communities will fund the startup costs, and set a period of time in which the profits from the business will pay off the costs of startup.


The typical earn-in timeline will have three tiers, in accordance with the below. Over a period of six months, some of the initial costs will have been repaid. Over nine months, most of the funds have been repaid. Over 12 months, typically all of the initial startup costs have been repaid. Operators are given the opportunity to take ownership in six or nine months by paying off the remaining costs at that point, or waiting the full 12 months and assuming full ownership and control without any additional payment.

 • If at 6 months, typically 40% of initial startup costs remain

 • If at 9 months, typically 20% of initial startup costs remain

 • If at 12 months, a full grant of the business at no cost



During the earn-in period, an Operator will work with us to fully open the home as if they purchased rights to a Charter. We will work together to locate a suitable home, work to furnish the home, conduct training, and open the home together. During the earn-in period, training can take place over a longer period of time, allowing for a more flexible and relaxed training experience. The Operator candidate will still assume responsibility for their home, guests, and meeting occupancy and impact goals. These goals include the following:

1. Meet training goals that introduce Operators to home operations, administration, guest relations, and business management

2. Meet new community goals including developing a network of guest support services, referral relationships, and service providers for the home

3. Meet occupancy goals for each month through community outreach, networking, and marketing efforts