What’s a Halfway House? A Transitional Living Option in Recovery

Originally, these houses were for helping homeless and destitute people, but soon became a haven for former inmates. In 1845, the Isaac T. Hopper House in New York City offered assistance to formerly incarcerated people who wished to rehabilitate and become purposeful, law-abiding people. Halfway houses are transitional living spaces for sober individuals who have either completed an addiction treatment program or finished serving time in prison. While halfway houses assist recovering addicts, former correctional facility inmates may come to live at a halfway house after finishing a prison sentence to help them with their reentry into regular society. While halfway houses provide an excellent and affordable sober living community, there may be some disadvantages to a halfway home for certain people. Some halfway house rules will be relatively universal, such as requiring clean breathalyzers and drug tests to remain living there.

  • Halfway houses are typically open to people who have completed a drug or alcohol rehab program and want to transition to independent living.
  • But two decades into streaming Netflix, the endless scroll doesn’t feel like a luxury.
  • This ambiguity means that pinning down how many people are in halfway houses each day – and how many specifically state-funded halfway houses there are – is nearly impossible.
  • Some facilities, like community-based correctional facilities, can serve dual functions that blur the lines of what facilities are and are not halfway houses.
  • Those that refer to themselves as recovery residences, rather than halfway houses, are more likely to aspire to professionally accepted protocol of operation, and ideally adhere to certified standards.

What are Halfway Houses?

  • Approximately 25% of their gross income goes to the halfway house to help pay the cost of room, board, and operational expenses.
  • Traditionally and contemporarily, halfway houses are not always welcomed in neighborhoods, as local community members often fear an increase in crime.
  • Instead, these facilities refer residents to contracted treatment providers.
  • This gives you enough time to get back on your feet, secure a steady job, and feel strong in your sobriety.
  • To utilize this service, visitors must first schedule the video visit with the halfway house staff and have it approved.

They receive counseling, job and educational assistance, training in basic life skills, food, and shelter. Some are on the campus where drug and alcohol addiction treatment is provided, and others are independent homes, apartments or condos. The number of residents depends on the size of the home or licensed beds in a facility. In most sober-living environments, bedrooms are shared, but some do provide individual rooms. Typically, there are rules about shared living spaces and individual room maintenance and chores, visitor hours, meal times, curfews and Twelve Step meeting requirements.

Rules & Policies

The primary criterion for this living environment is a willingness to be abstinent from mood-altering substances. Self-help (e.g., 12-step) meetings and outside recovery support services are encouraged or required. Weekly house meetings are a standard component, where chores and overall house functioning are processed within the community.

Halfway House Rules and Guidelines

  • The living environment can be any type of dwelling, but most commonly is a single-family residence with shared bedrooms.
  • They receive counseling, job and educational assistance, training in basic life skills, food, and shelter.
  • Although these regulations differ, they usually do not allow alcohol or drug use, violence, or theft.
  • When people with addiction complete their rehab, they may not be prepared to transition into regular society after years of drug abuse and addiction.
  • Some transitional housing facilities accept credit card payments or offer in-house financing.

It is important to note that each halfway house will have its own set of regulations that visitors must abide by. Visiting regulations at halfway houses are primarily put in place for safety purposes. These regulations ensure that residents are not put Sober House in harm’s way by any substance or environment. However, transitional housing services have existed since the beginning of the 19th century in the United States. Ingles House was founded in 1947 to serve women released from a women’s prison in Toronto.

Who Can Live in a Halfway House?

Halfway houses are residential treatment facilities designed to provide a transitional path for people between prison, addiction, or domestic abuse and their reentry into society as healing, reforming, productive citizens. Beginning with houses to help poor and homeless people in the early 19th century, halfway houses have evolved into safe havens for people to learn basic life skills and personal responsibility. They provide an increased level of structure and oversight and often utilize a clinical component of some kind, i.e. outpatient or aftercare services from a collaborative entity. This level offers life-skill-oriented programming in-house or in cooperation with other service providers. Guidance is provided for the development of life skills and recovery-sustaining activities, such as employment, physical health, and self-help.

There’s far more that we don’t know: Lack of publicly available data makes it difficult to hold facilities accountable

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