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Do You Need a License to Open a Group Home?

The appropriate answer to the above question will depend on your location as well as the sort of group home you intend to operate.

Nevertheless, note that you will be expected to obtain certain licenses and certifications before you can open or operate a group home in the United States. Group homes are known to provide therapy, 24-hour supervision, as well as support to individuals with complex health needs in a home-like setting

Have it in mind that you will be expected to meet certain requirements as well as obtain certain necessary licenses to run a group home in the United States. To understand these requirements, it is imperative that you reach out to the appropriate agency in your state tasked with overseeing or regulating group homes.

Most often, you will be expected to choose a viable facility in an appropriate zone in your city, complete certain forms and applications, obtain the necessary permits and authorizations, hire capable hands, and undergo frequent inspections.

Although these stipulations and their processes will vary, it is very necessary you pay attention to them and adhere to all steps to ensure that you can conduct your everyday activities without disturbance from the agency tasked with regulating group homes.

Basic Licenses Needed to Open a Group Home

Just as was noted above, the licenses you need will depend on your location as well as the sort of group home you intend to operate. Nevertheless, below are the basic licenses needed to open a group home.

  1. Business License

This particular license is a must for businesses in the United States. Note that it is a legal document granted by a federal, state, or local government agency that shows that you have the authorization to open and operate your group home within a particular jurisdiction. Have it in mind that it is essential for group homes within the United States and is used to track and tax businesses.

  1. Group Home License

In states where they are considered necessary, this is one of the most important licenses you need to run your group home. Most often, this license is issued at the state level and the necessary steps to obtain it will depend on the state and the issuing agency.

In most places, you will be expected to provide certain important business information such as your facility, staff, or even the services offered.

  1. Zoning Permit

In most places, your group home will be expected to be in the right part of the city before it can be authorized to open for business. Zoning works to ensure that a municipality is divided into separate districts, or zones, upon which differing regulations, typically regarding land use, are applied.

When looking to open a group home, it is essential you make sure that the location you choose aligns well with the local zoning regulations. Consider reaching out to the appropriate city department to avoid making the mistake of locating your business on the wrong side of the city.

  1. Nonprofit Incorporation (if applicable)

This is another authorization to consider especially if you are looking to establish and run your group home as a nonprofit. Have it in mind that a good number of group homes in the United States are run this way.

To get this done, you will have to select a name for your group home, draft a purpose statement and bylaws, put together a board of directors, file your articles of incorporation, apply for federal tax-exempt status as a 501© (3), and carry out other state-specific regulations.

  1. Staffing and Certification Requirements

Although not necessarily a license, have it in mind that recruiting staff for your group home may warrant additional licenses and permits.

This will most definitely depend on the sort of services you intend to offer. Aside from the well-known EIN, employing certain staff like mental health experts or food specialists will warrant additional certifications or even licenses in their own field. Take this into consideration when starting your group home.

  1. Health and Safety Permits

Depending on your location, you might be expected to obtain certain health and safety permits for your group home. This might include food service permits or health permits.

However, note that once the necessary permits and licenses have been obtained, conformance with the associated regulations and specific conditions of the permit or license becomes overly necessary. Same as with other licenses, they will also have expiration dates and you will need to renew them.

  1. Insurance

This is another important one for group homes regardless of the services you offer. Aside from the risk associated with your residents, don’t also forget that group homes contend with the same risks as any property, like theft, fire, and damage.

Group home insurance can help protect your group home’s financial health. Also, remember that every group home is different, so find an insurer that can extensively meet your needs.


The licenses you need will depend on your location as well as the sort of group home you intend to operate; however, you will be expected to obtain all of them before opening or operating a group home in the United States.