Social Entrepreneurship

Shared Purpose

“I learned about Shared Purpose in graduate school, and my first thought was ‘how come we’re only hearing about this now?’ Now, having taught entrepreneurship at Harvard University, I include this important concept as a foundation for instruction in all subject areas of business. Shared Purpose has changed the business landscape, changed the way organizations and humans interact, and changed my approach to work.”

Hunter Foote, Executive Director of Vanderburgh Communities

Shared Purpose is the concept that business success and social impact are dependent on one another. Most companies try to be good citizens of our world; donating to charity, publicly supporting causes, and helping those who are disadvantaged, all in the name of corporate social responsibility. This is good, but this is not good enough. Business can, and must, be used as a tool for solving social problems and building a better world.

Vanderburgh Sober Living is built on the foundation of Shared Purpose. The success of our organization depends on our Operators. The success of our Operators depends on the success of their guests. The success of a guest is dependent on the success of the recovery community. Guests, our Operators, and our organization form a strong and deeply meaningful partnership.

Build a Business

Social entrepreneurship is building a business with a focus on mission and business success. Social entrepreneurship is not charity, and Operators can build significant wealth. They collect revenue, pay expenses, generate profit, pay taxes, and enjoy being the owner of their own business. Operators with multiple homes often enjoy the fruits of a very profitable business.

Some Operators are individuals, partnerships, or other organizations. They all have made the decision to invest in building a business in order to earn a healthy return on their investment. They work hard and want to make money. Some want to build a business and legacy for their family. Some want to transition from working on someone else’s dream to working on their own. Some want to add a second source of income.

We support the financial success of our Operators. We teach Operators how to build a  profitable sober living business which generates a reliable financial return allows for a lifestyle that many don’t achieve in their life without being a business owner.

We help Operators build wealth.

Build a Better World

For VSL Chartered Operators, it’s more than business, it’s building a better world. Our field does not require deciding between making money and making a difference–it is always both. While teaching Operators how to do well financially, we simultaneously equip them to impact communities and save lives.

VSL Chartered Operators have the opportunity to reach their guests in support of their recovery and personal success. Recovery homes support our communities and make our world a better place for all.

Our platform is focused on the impact our Operators have on their communities and guests. Our training, systems, and support services focus on guests and the quality of community in a Vanderburgh Sober Living home home. We work together in order to be successful. There is no alternative.

We help Operators build a better world.

The Field of Addiction Recovery

Substance abuse directly affects over 23 million Americans.  Treatment is a $35 billion dollar industry.

The Housing Gap: The Critical Role of Sober Living

The transition from addiction treatment to a stable, sober life is a critical period that requires more than just clinical care; it necessitates a supportive living environment that reinforces the principles of recovery. This is where sober living becomes invaluable, filling the vital gap with environments that encourage mutual support and personal growth among residents. However, there’s a significant shortfall in available sober living spaces, underscoring an urgent need for compassionate individuals to step into this space. If you’re drawn to the idea of starting a sober house, you’re looking at an opportunity to make a profound impact on the recovery community by providing a foundational step towards sustained sobriety.

For those interested in how to start a sober house, the current housing gap presents both a challenge and a calling. Opening a sober living home not only addresses this crucial shortage but also places you at the heart of the recovery journey, offering a lifeline to individuals striving for a sober life. Embarking on this path means contributing to a key pillar of the recovery ecosystem, ensuring those in recovery have the supportive community they need to thrive. Your involvement could be the turning point for many, marking the beginning of a fulfilling journey towards healing and independence.

The Sober House Business

  • 1.
    Guests pay rent, weekly or monthly, to the sober house operator
  • 2.
    The operator pays expenses to run the home and provide a recovery community
  • 3.
    The rents collected, minus the operating expenses, is the operator's profit
Income Model

Sober house residency generates income on a weekly or monthly basis from each guest.

Cost Structure

After collecting rents and fees from guests, Operators pay expenses and costs to operate the home.

Net Income

Operators generate profit after paying operating expenses in return on their investment.

Operator Profitability

Each Operator and home is unique, and will have different financial results. We cannot guarantee any Operator’s success.

Sober House Operators

What does take to be an operator?

Sober house Operators are passionate in their mission to help those in recovery

Successful Operators have an open mind and a teachable spirit

New Operators must be able to access funds to build a recovery community

Operators must be willing to make the bold move to start their business

Recovery home businesses do not require a state license or special permit to operate

Successful sober house Operators do not need to have experience or education in the field

Operator Responsibilities


Operators build relationships with individuals and organizations to build a referral base and raise awareness


Review applications, conduct phone screens, approve applicants, schedule move-ins


Collect rents and deposits, record and pay bills, monitor occupancy, and manage paperwork

Crisis Management

Respond to and resolve emergency situations at the home and within the sober house community

Closing Remarks

Starting and running a sober living home is a meaningful mission but comes with realities that need to be considered:

      • Initial Investment: Jumping into this field requires both some time and money upfront. You’ll need to invest in setting up the house and have the resources ready to keep things running.
      • Long-Term Commitment: This isn’t a short-term project. Success in sober living demands a long-term dedication, ready to support individuals over the years.
      • Dedication to Recovery: Beyond financial or time commitments, a genuine passion for helping others in their recovery journey is crucial. This dedication is what will drive the home’s success and truly make an impact.


Despite these challenges, the journey of starting and operating a sober living home is immensely rewarding. Your commitment and dedication have the power to transform lives, offering a safe haven for individuals striving towards sobriety. By stepping into this role, you become a crucial part of their recovery journey, providing more than just a place to stay but a community where healing and growth flourish. Remember, every effort you make contributes to a larger mission of hope and recovery. Your passion and perseverance can light the way for countless individuals on their path to a healthier, sober life. Let this be your motivation to embark on this noble journey with confidence and optimism.

Download Operator Handbook