Our Story

Each year we welcome thousands of people through our doors seeking to transform their lives.


In 1967, six heroin addicts came together at a detoxification program in a New York hospital. They talked about the struggles of staying clean and decided to help one another through the tough days ahead. Together, they moved into a brownstone on Manhattan’s West Side and lived as a community, encouraging and helping each other to stay sober. That is how Phoenix House was born. What made it work was the structure and approach to treatment brought to the program by psychiatrist Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D. and counselors from New York City’s Addiction Services Agency.

In 1979, Phoenix House expands to the west coast and is gifted a property on Fruit Street in Santa Ana and opens its first residential substance abuse treatment center in California. In 1986, a second residential treatment center is opened on Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach, and in 1983, the Phoenix House Academy, a residential high school where teens can make up schooling lost to drugs and recapture opportunities for higher education is established in Lake View Terrace. Expansion of services continues and in 1996, we begin work in California prisons, jails, and other correctional settings, offering substance abuse and mental health programs to hundreds of men and adolescents each year. In 2011, in response to the ever-growing substance abuse crisis, we begin offering school-based prevention, mental health and outpatient services in Los Angeles and Orange counties.


Today we are leading the charge for a better tomorrow

Phoenix House California currently serves over 37,000 women, men, and young people annually – including family members, parents, teachers, students, veterans, the homeless, and men who are recently released from incarceration. We often offer the only chance of recovery to the underserved and uninsured in our communities and give them hope and a second chance at a life they never thought possible. We are guided by our mission every day – to save as many lives as possible – we won’t let addiction win.