Our History

Timeline of events that opened our doors

Since before we even opened our doors, we have been seeking out new ways to reach and engage our clients. This means our programs are always expanding and always improving as we continually refine our approach.

2010: The Idea of a Sobering Center in Houston is Sparked

Leonard Kincaid, a program administrator with a background in counseling, and Mike Lee, then-lieutenant with the Houston Police Department, toured the Sobering Unit at the Restoration Center in San Antonio, which provided supervision for people who were publicly intoxicated and who otherwise would have gone to jail, saving police time and lowering court and jail costs. They were impressed by what they saw, and they returned to Houston with a plan.

2012: City Council Approves the Houston Recovery Center

Leonard and Mike presented their plan for a sobering center in Houston to the city council, finding champions in Mayor Annise Parker and Councilman Ed Gonzalez. Their efforts paid off when, in a near-unanimous vote, councilmembers approved their proposal and created the Houston Recovery Center. Houston was one step closer to relieving the strain of public intoxication on the criminal justice and public health systems.

2013: Houston Recovery Center Opens its Doors

What was once a nondescript warehouse owned by Star of Hope Mission reopened as the Houston Recovery Center, with Mayor Parker, Councilman Gonzalez, and Police Chief Charles McClelland joining the ribbon cutting ceremony. Initially available only for HPD Special Operations, the Houston Recovery Center opened its doors for all HPD officers within a few short months and later to all law enforcement agencies in Houston.

2014: Partners in Recovery Programs Begin Service for Clients with Severe Needs

The goal of the Houston Recovery Center is to fill the gaps in recovery services for people in need, and clients of the sobering center often face daunting needs: homelessness, mental health issues, criminal justice involvement, and frequent emergency room use, in addition to substance use. Partnering with the Houston Health Department allowed us to debut Partners in Recovery, a unique substance use recovery program combining peer support and clinical case management, personalized for our clients facing these obstacles. We also broadened the reach of the sobering center, accepting clients from other law enforcement agencies, other community sources, and walk-ins.

2015: Houston Recovery Center Reaches for Clients in Jail and Court

Partners in Recovery saw its first major expansion: a criminal justice in-reach program with a Houston Recovery Center case manager stationed inside Houston’s jail and courtrooms to screen and refer potential Partners in Recovery clients, giving some of the most vulnerable people with substance use issues immediate seamless access to recovery resources when they reenter society.

2016: Mass Overdose Sparks On-the-Street Interventions

A mass overdose of 16 people in Hermann Park due to a synthetic drug known as Kush spurred the creation of the Public Intoxication Transport team, a collaboration between the Mayor of Houston, the Houston Recovery Center, and the Downtown, Midtown, and Near Northside Management Districts. The team pairs emergency medical technicians with peer recovery specialists to deliver rapid-response on-the-street screening and triage of people who are publicly intoxicated in high-risk neighborhoods. We also expanded Partners in Recovery, devoting a peer recovery specialist to pre-recovery engagement, building relationships and recovery readiness by providing health care, housing, and other assistance to clients who frequently use the sobering center and who are not yet ready for recovery.

2017: Reintegration Court Offers Peer Recovery Support to Defendants

In partnership with the Harris County Courts, we expanded our criminal justice in-reach program into the newly established Reintegration Court, with a team of peer recovery specialists working directly with the court to provide recovery coaching for defendants with low-level substance-related offenses.

Our History 2

Houston Recovery Center Co-Founders Executive Director Leonard Kincaid (right) and Major Mike Lee of Harris County Sheriff’s Office (left)

Our History 3

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Annise Parker and Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez