Van Ness Recovery House in Los Angeles, CA

Overall Rating

(3.6 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
1919 North Beachwood Drive
Los Angeles CA 90068

Van Ness Recovery House Philosophy

The Van Ness Recovery House opened a 20-bed facility on Beachwood Drive in 1973 and became aware of serving its first HIV-infected resident in 1984. The program has since served 1,632 HIV-infected residents. In the past five years, 61% of transgendered clients entering the program have been HIV-infected, 80% of all residents have been HIV-infected and over 86% of the residents have been homeless, having had little or no reportable income of the previous year. Over 2500 men and women have been given a new start in life thanks to a community that cares.

Areas of Specialization

  • Residential Treatment
    Residential treatment programs provide housing (food and meals) in addition to treatment for substance abuse. Some facilities offer only short-term residential treatment, some offer only long-term treatment and others offer both, ranging from a few days to many months, based on patient needs.

  • 12-Step
    The term “12 Step Program” describes a way to recover from addiction that is based on the model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers base their treatment on 12 steps – the first three of which are situational, the next four addressing the practical issues created by the addiction, followed by two steps focused on making amends for hurting others. Steps 10 and 11 involve a deeper examination of the previous steps and the final step is focused on helping others avoid and recover from addiction.

Facility Highlights

Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and heterosexual communities

Employment Program

Sober Living 360 Guide

Review by Contributors


Located in Los Angeles, Calif., Van Ness Recovery House provides day treatment, residential treatment, sober living, and education to men and women struggling with addiction. The center doesn’t turn clients away for either their inability to pay or HIV status. Detox is available.

The center’s website states Van Ness Recovery House’s mission “is to meet the critical and expanding needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community for alcohol and drug addiction recovery." The program also accepts incarcerated clients.


According to Van Ness Recovery House’s website, the center’s residential program runs between four to six months, with an average 88 hours of treatment per week. While clients are in the program, the center’s staff provides them with intense structure and support to address the problems that may have led to their addiction.

Clients on the center's waiting list often wait one to three weeks before enrollment. While on the waiting list, clients are asked to stay sober and to attend 12-Step meetings daily. Incarcerated clients have a separate waiting list.

The first step of treatment is an assessment, which is used to create an individualized treatment plan. Most plans include group sessions, assessments, 12-Step meetings, and therapy. The center’s program has multiple phases. The final phase includes becoming employed, moving to a sober home, working with a sponsor, and a support group. Van Ness also has a variety of house meetings every week such as CMA Panel, Alumni Meetings, OA Meetings, and AA meetings.


Staff include HIV/STD counselors, sponsors, therapists and psychiatrists. Staff are trained to help clients deal with issues such as internalized homophobia, childhood sexual abuse, repeated incarcerations, acceptance of HIV, and both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health disorders.


According to Van Ness Recovery House’s website, smoking is not permitted at the facility. Activities include walks, art therapy, movie viewings, Big Book groups, and meditation. Clients also search for jobs during treatment and begin paying bills after finding employment.


The three alumni polled by to date gave Van Ness Recovery House two positive reviews and one negative. One alum rated the center mostly four and five out of five stars across the board including when asked if they would recommend Van Ness Recovery. A second alum gave the center four stars across the board including for treatment effectiveness, but a third alum rated the facility only two stars in treatment effectiveness and three stars for meals and nutrition, though they did rate the center four stars in accommodations and amenities.

Alum E.B., though mostly positive in their review, rated the center one star for holistic offerings. They wrote: “The staff at this facility are the most loving and caring people I've ever me in my life...This place will always be my home it's we're I learned about honesty, integrity and how to be a friend.” Alum B.C. was critical about the therapy's confrontational tone, writing: "I need a more gentle approach, leading to me wanting to know more about addiction and feelings than simply doing something because I'm afraid to be yelled at."

On third-party sites, Van Ness received mostly positive reviews to date. Google, ten reviewers rated Van Ness an average four out of five stars, with one negative review, three mixed, and six positive.[1] On the center's Facebook page, which the facility can manage, 53 reviewers rated Van Ness an average 4.6 out of five stars, with 47 positive reviews, two mixed, and four negative.[2]

Alumni and loved ones mostly praised the center's compassionate staff and LGBT-focused programming, though a few felt therapy was too confrontational. Alum Anthony wrote: "This isn't just tough love, it's bricks of love. Sometimes you have to have a couple through at you. These women have been through it and are great examples of what sobriety can bring to your life."


The sole loved one polled by to date left no ratings for Van Ness Recovery House but did write negative commentary about the facility: "A big part of me does feel like it's all for the money...They destroy families. This isn't right and I'm furious.”


According to Van Ness's website, treatment is available to anyone regardless on their ability to pay. After receiving jobs, clients pay a minimum of $100 per week toward their house bill, which is $750 per month.


Published on November 2017

User Reviews

Review this Center

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  • Treatment Effectiveness
My Partner entered this so called Rehab and it pretty much followed the script Ive read happened to peoples loved ones. the imposed the 60 black out period. Our last phone call at that time was him wrestling with someone for the phone, he yelling my name and people in the back ground screaming no at him. and silence.. No one would tell me what happened. I asked to speak to a director or a councilor but no one would or did. After the 60 days, when I head from him - he was angry, hostile. paranoid like he was still using. blaming his drug use on everyone but himself. Way to go van ness. You turn a drug users psychosis into reality for him. he basically told me they are feed a script to tell their loved ones but it was to save his life. That was one ten minute call and he has since disappeared. no family therapy no repairing lives I believe that they try to break up couples and brainwash them into drinking their Kool Aid - their new addiction

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
no frills, serious recovery house�foundation in AA and sobriety were strengths.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
I give four stars across the board. This place is not a joke, not a meal, not a roof, not your moms house. I was just told to pack my bags because I treated it as such. If you want Recovery and are serious about getting clean and sober this is it. I learned a lot and have tools for sobriety if I so choose to use them. Good house and can feel the recovery. Goddess blesses you.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
It provides behavior modification, and it serves but not exclusively the lgbt community. The love too much. ` The staff at this facility are the most loving and caring people I've ever me in my life, they love you till you can learn to love yourselve .they also provide job training and assistance with finding a job towards the end of the program truly an amazing place. At Van ness you don't find yourself you build yourself from the ground up. This place will always be my home it's we're I learned about honesty, integrity and how to be a friend.

My partner who is a drug addict decided it was time to go back to rehab and that this was it. This time it had to work because he has no family left. Just me and a few friends. On Feb 7th I dropped him off and the staff let me know that we would not be able to speak or see each other for 45 days. Those were awful. I wanted to be there for him but I had to focus on me. At the end of the 45 he finally called and I ad thrilled. He sounded more aware and willing to put in the work. He reassured me that we were still us and that there was work to be done. I made sure to reassure him that o was behind him 100%. He explained to me that from that point on he was allowed to call me one a week for 10 minutes but that he had fought and got twice a week. 3 weeks went by and right when suppose to call to let me know I could finally go see him he calls on a different day and time and ends our relationship. We had spoken the night before and everything was fine so I as confused and devastated. He sounded scripted. Not like himself. I asked him questions and he wouldn't answer them. He kept saying that he wasn't closing the door on us and everything would be ok. He was mid sentence when I heard a female voice, director of this "house" im sure say "thats enough" abd must have taken the phone from him and hung up on me. My calls after that weren't answered. You can imagine how I felt. A week goes by and I call him crying and told him how I felt. How mad and resentful I am that he didn't give me a chance. That he choose to listen to their "advice" and made me feel unworthy of being part of his recovery. Our relationship wasn't getting on the way. Our break up was because all we did was fight from that point on. After finding out in avg  how much money per day he makes this facility it became hard to believe anything other than hes just an ATM and they need to keep him there and so they made sure no one can claim him. he's told me that from now  on his sponsor and support group decide everything for him so they decided  to cut me..Eventuall he said that he didn't know if he ever loved and was confused and later on he said he wasn't gonna call me anymore because he didn't need to hear how upset and emotional I am. I haven't heard from him since then. Every time I call he's "unavailable" and ll I can do is leave a message. I'm sure I already lost him and I will forever blame it on this facility and the corrupt leader behind it.  She's destroying people's lives. She choose for us the fate of our relationship and he let her. They made sure I felt like I don't belong in his life  anymore. That now that he is recovering he's better than me and I'm basically trash. He doesn't care as much as he says he does or he wouldn't ignore me. That makes him a hypocrite. Idk if I will ever see him again. I doubt he's still interested in me or feels anything. I have no choice but to move on. I'm hurting more than I ever have. I feel used and betrayed and sad. This is all the complete opposite of step #9. A big part of me does feel like it's all for the money and they don't care about him or who else they hurt. They destroy families. This isn't right and I'm furious. I have to keep moving forward and remember the serenity prayer now more than ever.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
If you want an in your face kind of place, go there. Unfortunately for me it does not work. I need a more gentle approach, leading to me wanting to know more about addiction and feelings than simply doing something because I'm afraid to be yelled at.

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