Grievance Policy: Best Practices

Creating a Grievance Policy for Recovery Housing > Grievance Policy: Best Practices


Best practices for handling grievances include ensuring that the grievance policy and forms are readily available.  All homes are required to have these documents in a common location in the home at all times.


Deal with the grievance promptly.  By addressing the situation quickly and setting prompt timelines, a recovery housing program can ensure things are addressed quickly and appropriately and not allow issues to continue to escalate.


Keep documentation.  As an organization talks with individuals, they should take notes.  If possible, have individuals make a statement and put things into their own words and have them sign and date the document.  As staff takes notes, be sure to note the date and time that staff spoke with people – so the documentation is accurate.


Engage in Clear Communication.  An organization can certainly speak to people when they make their determinations, but it is also important to follow up in writing, so an organization has appropriate documentation of that response.


Keep good records.  Be sure to keep records of grievances, so if someone contacts ORH or another entity to perform an additional review, the recovery program has the documents and records ready for the review.


Consult an attorney.  If the grievance involves legal issues that intersect with landlord tenant law, discrimination, or other legal issues, an organization should consider engaging with legal counsel and following their advice and guidance.  Consulting attorney’s can be expensive, but it can also ensure that a recovery housing organization is doing things appropriately and avoiding any major issues in the future.


Provide ongoing training for staff.  Just like residents, staff need ongoing training.  Specifically, train staff on how to appropriately respond if a grievance is filed about them.  It is not comfortable to have this happen, but training can help staff respond appropriately to the situation, instead of inadvertently escalating the situation. Provide this training on a regular basis and keep records of staff trainings that has occurred.