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What is a Halfway House and Why Should You Consider It?

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What Is A Halfway House?

Halfway houses, also known as residential reentry centers or transitional centers, can provide the support services you need to make a successful transition. These short-term residential facilities offer a supervised and structured living environment for individuals with a history of substance abuse or criminal behavior.

According to a study from the Office of Justice Programs, halfway house programs have been found to be effective in supporting individuals during their reentry process, reducing recidivism rates, and improving overall outcomes in addiction recovery and reintegration into society.

Halfway houses serve as a haven for people recovering from addiction and transitioning back to everyday life. They provide support services and treatment options for those leaving the criminal justice system (prison) or rehabilitation centers. It's a supportive community where you can rebuild relationships and focus on sobriety.

The goal of a halfway house is to help you reintegrate into society by providing access to treatment options, counseling, and support. You are expected to follow the rules and guidelines and are required to participate in educational and vocational programs. The primary aim is to help you stay sober and avoid relapse while learning to become a productive member of society.

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Who Can Live In A Halfway House?


A halfway house typically welcomes a diverse range of individuals as residents. Eligibility criteria may vary depending on the specific facility, but in general, the following groups can live in a halfway house. Firstly, those who have successfully completed a formal treatment program for substance abuse or addiction are eligible. Additionally, individuals who have undergone detoxification and are committed to maintaining their sobriety can reside in a halfway house. A willingness to comply with the rules and guidelines of the house is essential.

individuals who display a genuine desire to continue their recovery journey and actively participate in counselling and therapy sessions are typically welcomed. A halfway house serves as a structured and supervised living environment to support individuals transitioning from treatment to independent living. Motivation to secure employment and reintegrate into society is also important. Understanding and accepting the necessity of regular drug and alcohol testing is another requirement.

In some cases, residents may be expected to contribute financially to cover rent and household expenses. It is important to note that specific halfway houses may have additional or different criteria for admission, so it is advisable to inquire with the specific facility for their specific requirements.

Some characteristics of halfway houses include:


History Of Halfway Houses

The history of halfway houses can be traced back to the 18th century in England, where they initially served as facilities for children arrested for petty crimes. In the United States, the concept of transitional housing and assistance for individuals in need began in the 19th century, primarily targeting the homeless and impoverished populations.


It was during this time that the first privately owned U.S. halfway house was established in New York by Maud Ballington Booth in 1896. The term "halfway house" gained prominence in the 1950s, becoming synonymous with transitional housing and offender reentry facilities. Notably, the Halfway House Association, founded in 1958, marked a significant milestone in the halfway house movement.

The development of the halfway house movement gained momentum throughout the 20th century, with increasing recognition of the importance of transitional support in sustaining long-term recovery. In response to the growing demand for these services, various organizations and initiatives were established to promote and advocate for halfway houses. This included the formation of the Halfway House Association in 1958, which aimed to standardize and improve the quality of transitional housing programs across the United States.

Today, halfway houses continue to serve as community-based facilities, offering a supportive and safe environment for individuals striving to reintegrate into society after being discharged from correctional institutions, drug treatment centers, and other medical facilities.

These transitional opportunities aim to facilitate the transition to a healthy, law-abiding lifestyle, providing individuals with the necessary support and resources to navigate the challenges of their reentry journey.

What to Expect at a Halfway House?

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6467-w-83rd-st-054_web (1)

At a halfway house, you can expect the following:

  1. Duration of Stay: The length of your stay depends on the level of care provided, with some houses having minimum and maximum time limits.
  2. Staff Support: Halfway houses have on-site staff. These professionals, such as social workers or counselors, offer guidance and support throughout your recovery.
  3. Living Arrangements: Some halfway houses have shared bedrooms for two or three residents, while others provide larger rooms with bunk beds. The arrangement depends on the house's design.
  4. Employment and Volunteering: Working or volunteering is encouraged at halfway houses. Depending on the level of care, you may have the opportunity to work off-site.
  5. Medication Policies: Each halfway house has its own policies regarding medications. Proper communication is essential to ensure your safety and well-being, as prescribed medications may be important for your recovery.

What Are The Rules Of A Halfway House?

Upon entering a halfway house, residents are expected to adhere to a set of rules and guidelines, which may vary slightly between facilities. These rules are in place to foster a safe and supportive environment for all residents on their path to recovery. It is important to understand and agree to these terms upon moving into a halfway house, as violations may result in consequences such as fines, making amends, or even being asked to leave the facility. While specific rules may differ, some common guidelines typically found in halfway houses include:

Rules of Halfway House & Guidelines:

  • Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
  • Participating in counseling sessions
  • Attending job interviews and finding employment
  • Staying clean and refraining from bringing any type of alcohol or drugs into the house
  • Participating in chores that are assigned to them and completing these tasks in a timely manner
  • Following a curfew that must be followed by the residents
  • Reporting to staff if a resident knows someone is breaking the rules


How Much Does a Halfway House Cost?

The cost of residing in a halfway house can vary depending on factors such as location, amenities, and services offered. On average, the cost of living in a halfway house ranges around $200 per week. However, it's important to note that the cost of living in a halfway house can be covered by some insurance, Medicaid, or other government programs, making it more accessible to individuals seeking transitional support.

Government-funded halfway houses typically have different cost structures compared to privately owned and operated sober living homes. In some cases, scholarships or financial assistance options may be available for those who are unable to afford the cost.​


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Frequently Asked Questions About Halfway Houses

The main purpose of a halfway house is to provide a safe and supportive environment for people who are recovering from addiction or other mental health issues. Halfway houses can help people transition back into independent living by providing them with structure, support, and resources.

Halfway houses offer a variety of support services, including:

    • 24/7 supervision and support
    • Individual and group counseling
    • Medication management
    • Life skills training
    • Job training and placement assistance
    • Transportation assistance
    • Financial assistance
    • Referrals to other services


These services can be very beneficial for people who are recovering from addiction or other mental health issues. For example, individual and group counseling can help people to understand their addiction and develop coping mechanisms to stay sober.

Life skills training can help people to learn how to manage their finances, cook healthy meals, and maintain a clean and organized home.

Job training and placement assistance can help people to find and keep a job. Transportation assistance can help people to get to and from appointments and other important events. Financial assistance can help people to pay for rent, food, and other expenses.

Referrals to other services can help people to access additional support, such as medical care or mental health care.

  • The typical criteria to be eligible to live in a halfway house include:

    • A history of addiction or other mental health issues
    • A willingness to abstain from drugs and alcohol
    • A commitment to participating in treatment and support services
    • A stable living situation
    • A source of income

If you meet these criteria, you may be eligible to live in a halfway house.

  • What you can expect from living in a halfway house will vary depending on the specific halfway house. However, you can generally expect to:

    • Share a room with one or more other residents
    • Follow house rules, such as a curfew and a no-drugs/alcohol policy
    • Participate in treatment and support services, such as counseling and group therapy
    • Attend 12-step meetings
    • Get involved in the community
    • Work towards your goals for recovery

This environment can be very supportive for people who are recovering from addiction or other mental health issues. It can provide them with the structure and support they need to stay sober and rebuild their lives.

The cost of living in a halfway house is typically covered by insurance, government funding, or the resident’s own funds. There are also some halfway houses that offer financial assistance to residents who cannot afford to pay the full cost of housing.

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