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Transitional Living Program for Young Adults

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

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Many teens and young adults who have completed a residential treatment program shift into a transitional living program. Through transitional living, people may acquire the skills they need to live independently and positively change their lives.

Find out what to expect from transitional living for young adults and why it is important for recovery.

What Is Transitional Living?

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Transitional living is a temporary housing program that caters to young adults who are going through foster care, substance abuse, homelessness, or family crisis. The program’s ultimate purpose is to give teenagers and young adults the stability and support they need to move into independent living effectively.

Transitional living provides struggling young adults with more than just a roof above their heads; it also serves as their support system as they adjust to adulthood. When young people live in an environment that provides supportive services, they may acquire the skills necessary to keep their sobriety and health, manage their behavior, employ healthy coping mechanisms, concentrate on education and career development, and live independently. As a result, they graduate from transitional living with the confidence that they can handle life’s challenges. 

If you are ready to take the first step toward finding the perfect transitional living program, Design for Recovery has all you need. Contact us at (424) 327-4614 to learn more.

How Can Transitional Living Help Young Adults Heal?

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Many young people feel confused and overwhelmed about their lives and their future. While childhood and adolescence consist of school, play, and family life, these old routines are gradually replaced with new responsibilities as young people mature. For most of them, the transition into adulthood may be smooth. However, this change can be overwhelming for some. Factors such as childhood trauma, mental illness, and lack of parental support may cause this confusion. Sadly, some fall behind when they are not provided with the basic resources they need as they navigate the obstacles of entering adulthood. 

Through transitional living, teens and young adults are provided with structured assistance and a wide range of programs aimed at helping them achieve overall health, gain independence, get stable employment, and effectively transition out of homelessness. Those with substance use disorders are given the therapeutic tools they need to recover, such as counseling and support groups.

Young adults who may have difficulty finding their footing in life are given a helping hand along the path to discovery by being encouraged to adopt healthy and constructive routines. Most importantly, mental health specialists and mentors are also available around the clock to assist young adults in making decisions that benefit their well-being. Personal coaching can help them develop the foundation they need to live a healthy lifestyle and deal with the stresses of the real world. 

A transitional living program can be seen as a safe place from the chaos of the outside world and a place to find one’s true identity. Research on homeless youth ages 16 to 21 found that participating in a transitional living program showed improvements. When the youth left the program, 78% of them found permanent housing. Less than 1 in 10 (8%) participants experienced homelessness within one month of completing the program, and this number remained stable three months later.

Many people trying to recover from substance abuse lack access to stable living arrangements that encourage long-term sobriety. For this reason, they admit themselves in sober living homes. According to a study, sober living proved to be a good choice for anyone looking for safe, drug-free, and alcohol-free places to live. There were improvements in employment, psychiatric problems, alcohol and drug use, and arrests. 

What to Expect From Transitional Living Programs

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One of the primary goals of a transitional living program for young adults is to assist them in re-establishing healthy connections with the self, their families, their communities, and the wider world. After being accepted into the program, students work closely with a case manager to create a personalized plan focused on furthering their education, finding a gainful job, acquiring useful life skills, and becoming financially independent. 

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While working toward self-sufficiency, students have the security of a stable living environment while learning about health and nutrition, budgeting, coping mechanisms, communication techniques, conflict resolution, college degree opportunities, job preparation, crisis management, and more. Another focal point of transitional living is therapy services, which create a safe space where young adults do not have to worry about being judged while working through their feelings and past traumas. 

Young adults who make an honest effort to follow their case plan and the program’s rules may remain there for several months. To maintain structure and order inside the home, they are expected to follow house regulations:

  • Must participate in ongoing healing and recovery classes

  • Must be mindful of the space and property 

  • Must fulfill household chores and daily schedules

  • No sexual interactions among residents

  • No fighting or violence

  • No drugs or alcohol use

Ready to find a sober living perfect for you? Contact us at (424) 327-4614 to learn more.

Finding a Transitional Living Program

transitional living program for young adult finding a transitional living program Design for Recovery

While most transitional living centers uphold similar guiding principles, the details and services of each may vary. Each transitional center has its specialization. For instance, some centers focus on homelessness, while some facilities, like sober living homes, focus on addiction recovery. Many transitional housing offer connections to the larger community and other institutions, such as universities. This may help young adults figure out what career they want to pursue and accomplish by allowing them access to explore their passion and potential.

When finding a transitional living center for you or your loved one, determine your needs and conduct online research on the facility that offers these services. Gather as much data as possible regarding the support services available. You can use this information to determine if this is the right transitional center for you. It is important that you find one that is tailored to your specific needs so you will be able to achieve your goals. 

You may also seek referrals from your treatment provider or other parents. Ensure that the facility’s program structure matches your needs and fits your budget. It is important to select one that is accessible, reputable, and reliable with success rates. Consider enrolling in a person-centered transitional center that produces results, promotes values, and has access to vital resources, such as outpatient treatment facilities or peer support groups. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Transitional living is a safe and supervised temporary housing that caters to young adults struggling with either homelessness, addiction, or mental health issues. These facilities provide vital supportive services, such as life skills, counseling, school and job readiness resources, and aftercare. The purpose of the transitional living program is to effectively prepare young adults for independent living and to prevent them from becoming homeless and victimized adults.

A transitional living program may help young adults who are having trouble overcoming certain challenges, such as:

  • Mental health problems, including past trauma as a child
  • Homelessness
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship conflicts with family, friends, or others
  • Failure from high school or college
  • Unable to get or keep a job
  • Reckless and irresponsible behavior
  • Lack of directional sense
  • Any other struggle that affects the person
Depending on the transitional center, admission criteria may vary. The most common criteria of transitional living include:
  • Has an age between 18 to 21 years old (this may vary by transitional center)
  • Has educational direction and goals
  • Has a goal of permanent independence

Young adults in transitional living have access to a variety of services and mentoring designed to help them become more self-sufficient in all aspects of their lives, including physical health and fitness, emotional regulation, money management, securing employment, pursuing and completing education, keeping a healthy environment, fostering positive relationships, and developing strong personal values.

Additionally, the following services are offered in a transitional living program:

  • Counseling services

  • Interpersonal-skill building

  • Home economics

  • Educational opportunities, such as post-secondary training, vocational training, and GED preparation

  • Job attainment

  • Transitional planning toward independent living

Young adults may benefit from residing in transitional living centers from six months to eighteen months. Most people who stay in a transitional center are able to learn self-management and become more self-reliant before moving on to regular life. They emerge from their time in a transitional living program, ready to take on the world.

All individuals involved in a transitional program, residents, therapists, teachers, community liaisons, and mentors, work together to help each young adult in the program set and achieve realistic goals. The qualities and habits the young people have developed through the program continue to flourish as they enter adulthood.

In transitional living, residents learn to take care of themselves by preparing their own meals, doing their laundry, and taking care of other household tasks. As these habits are formed and therapy is maintained, they acquire the tools to become self-sufficient, productive individuals.

Notably, transitional living helps teenagers and young adults gain:

  • Academic achievement
  • Job readiness
  • Youth leadership
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Independent living skills
  • Community services and support

Many different entities, including the government, nonprofits, and churches, help fund transitional housing programs. The costs may vary by the location and amenities of the transitional center. 

Some programs, like those subsidized by the government, are free of charge. On the other hand, other programs, like sober living houses, charge a monthly fee. For example, an average room in a five-bedroom sober living home may cost $800 per month. Two people can share a room with bunk beds for $400 per month, halving the monthly cost. Some establishments may have more expensive rates.

We understand that any young adult may have difficulty enrolling in a transitional living program. However, most transitional living providers care passionately and are committed to providing excellent services and mental health programs.

There are several alternatives available for finding temporary housing. Referrals for those experiencing homelessness may be accessible through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Another option is to conduct online research or contact a medical professional for suggestions on sober living homes is another option. Get as much information as you can about the services offered at a transitional living facility. This will help you choose whether or not it would be the best option for you. Make sure to think about enrolling in a transitional center that delivers results, promotes values, and has access to necessary resources, such as university, outpatient treatment, or peer support groups.
After completing residential treatment for substance misuse, many people find that the structure and assistance offered by sober living homes are the best way to ease back into everyday life. At Design for Recovery sober living homes, we offer a safe and structured environment where young adults may learn valuable everyday skills they need as they enter adult life. We place the utmost importance on the recovery of each individual and ensure that they achieve their goals as they transition into independent living. Our staff is comprised of dedicated and compassionate individuals who are able to assist young adults struggling with mental health conditions or addiction. Call us at (424) 327-4614 or contact us to speak with our staff about our sober living programs and locations.
  1. Office of the Administration for Children & Families. (2021, September 30). Findings from the Transitional Living Program Youth Outcomes Study.
  2. Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). What did we learn from our study on sober living houses and where do we go from here? Journal of psychoactive drugs, 42(4), 425–433.


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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