Our Story

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


How It All Began

In 1967, six heroin users came together at a detoxification program in a New York hospital. They talked about the struggles in trying to stop using drugs 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 recover. 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 was gifted a property on Fruit Street in Santa Ana and expanded to the west coast, opening its first residential substance use treatment center in California. In 1986, a second residential treatment center was opened on Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach. In 1983, the Phoenix House Academy, a residential high school where teens could make up schooling opened in the East San Fernando Valley. Expansion of services continued and in 1996, Phoenix House began working in California prisons, jails, and other correctional settings, offering substance use disorder and mental health services to hundreds each year. Wraparound Services for adolescents and families were established in 2010 and the following year, in response to the ever-growing substance use crisis, we began offering school-based prevention, mental health and outpatient services in Los Angeles and Orange counties.


We Rise By Lifting Others

Phoenix House is a leading nonprofit organization committed to protecting and supporting individuals, families, and communities affected by substance use and mental health disorders.

Our treatment model has evolved from a social-learning residential model to an individualized, trauma-informed, and client-centered approach. An important part of this evolution was the expansion of the use of evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapies, specific to individual characteristics and needs. Using the American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria, Phoenix House offers behavioral health services within a variety of settings across the continuum of care. Services are provided by psychiatrists, physicians, Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Marriage Family Therapists (LMFT), pre-licensed Masters’-level clinicians, certified drug and alcohol counselors, nurses, care coordinators, recovery support specialists, peer mentors and other professionals.

Annually, over 44,000 young people, women, and men – including family members, parents, teachers, students, veterans, people without homes, and individuals recently released from incarceration — receive our life-saving services: early intervention, school-based prevention and mental health, outpatient, detox (withdrawal management), adult residential, continuing care, and recovery support. PHCA also offers in-custody substance use disorder and mental health services to adolescents and adults to help them prepare for successful re-entry into society to live healthy and productive lives.

We offer hope, healing, and recovery to the low-income, underserved, and uninsured in our communities to give them a second chance at a life they never thought possible.


We are leading the charge for a better tomorrow

We are preparing for the future by expanding our prevention programs to reach more youth through innovative technology such as with the you and app, launched in Orange County in the fall of 2020. Created by PHCA and funded by the Orange County Health Care Agency, Behavioral Services, Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act, the you and mobile application helps restore and preserve social and emotional wellness for youth during challenging times. Thanks to additional generous funding provided by the Health Net Foundation, you and is currently being introduced to schools in Los Angeles County as well as to additional school districts throughout Orange County.

Phoenix House California continues its commitment to providing whole-person care in treating substance use disorders: a comprehensive, patient-centered approach that addresses all the needs of the person to treat body, mind, and spirit and considers age, gender, ethnicity, and culture. We are also expanding our continuum of care, alumni programs, and on-going recovery support services while building new partnerships to be better equipped to provide our life-changing and life-saving services in more areas throughout Southern California. Internally, we are working with our newly formed expanded leadership team in the strategic planning process to include diverse voices and new perspectives.

We are guided by our mission every day – to save as many lives as possible – we won’t let addiction win.

PHCA programs are California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS licensed) and Drug Medi-Cal certified and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Support for services is provided by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health; Substance Abuse Prevention and Control; Department of Mental Health; Orange County Health Care Agency, and other public and private funders.