Halfway Houses

What is a Halfway House?

A halfway house is a type of facility that falls under the category of transitional housing. According to the SBA, “Transitional housing provides people with a temporary place to live as they attempt to get back on their feet or make a major transition in their lives.” For someone who is leaving treatment and continuing with their recovery afterward, a halfway house could be the perfect aftercare facility at which to do so.

Many times, individuals who are leaving prison or another similar facility turn to halfway houses as a way to help them segue as they reenter society. These programs can actually be very beneficial to an individual who is leaving a treatment facility as well, as many of the needs of these two types of individuals are the same.

As stated by the BOP, halfway houses normally provide these services to residents:

  • A structured and supervised environment
  • A safe place to live
  • Employment counseling
  • Job placement
  • Financial management assistance
  • (Often) a roommate or a checks system between residents
  • Assistance with finding housing
  • Assistance with health care
  • (Often) behavioral treatments that help patients stay in the routine of going to group or therapy sessions
    • Sometimes, these facilities don’t offer on-site behavioral treatments but they do encourage patients to attend free support group sessions in the area
  • A treatment plan for each and every individual resident
transitional housing

A halfway house is actually a house where people live in a semi-structured way to help with the transition after prison.

Halfway houses are a wonderful aftercare option for many individuals. Depending on a person’s situation, a halfway house could be the best possible place to go after formal treatment. Many patients do not have a strong support system they can lean on and others don’t have the funds to go to a sober living facility. Halfway houses will often take in those without money or jobs in the hopes of helping them achieve success in these areas as well as staying off drugs.

What Requirements Does a Person Have to Meet to Stay at a Halfway House?

Depending on the facility, there are often different requirements. According to the OHND, former inmates who are looking to become halfway house residents could be turned away because of:

  • Poor institution adjustment
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Pending cases
  • Failure to follow the recommendations of the program
  • Failure to pay toward the financial responsibility program
  • Lack of participation in the programming

There are actually other reasons why some halfway houses might turn a person away from a program. One is if a patient is extremely aggressive or has shown record of assaultive, violent, or dangerous behavior in the past or during treatment. This could be a problem for many halfway house programs as other patients need to be protected.

Another issue could be if the patient has a psychiatric condition which is chronic. In the case of some halfway houses, a resident like this would not be accepted, for the same reasons listed above and because the facility may not have the treatments and equipment needed to care for the individual.

Overall, one of the main reasons these facilities would not accept a resident is if the person does not show “motivation with program expectations.” As stated by the DRC of Ohio, “lack of interest” is one of the top reasons for program rejection with a halfway house. Whether the individual is just leaving prison, a treatment facility, or coming into the program without any other kind of formal treatment, respect and motivation are key. Those who run a halfway house want to see that residents care about getting better just as much as those who are treating them do.

Why Should I Go to a Halfway House After Treatment?

If you believe that you still need help after treatment, a halfway house could be right for you. There are many reasons why a person may need to attend a program like this and become a halfway house resident after formal treatment. They are:

  • The individual has no money, no job, and/or no place to stay.
  • The individual is still working through their addiction, cravings, and other issues and isn’t ready to be on their own in the world quite yet.
  • The individual does not have a strong support system at home and needs others around during this time for support and help.
  • The individual is court-appointed to need a guardian or to be monitored for a certain amount of time after treatment.

These needs would certainly call for a person to stay at a halfway house for a period of time. Mostly, you should seek residency at a halfway house if you feel that it would be the best thing for you.

Many people think that they are on their own after treatment is over, but this is absolutely untrue. And, if it will keep you from slipping back into your old ways to still be in a structured, monitored environment with slightly more freedom than an inpatient center, a halfway house may be just what you are looking for.

What Does Residency at a Halfway House Entail?

Residency at a halfway house can last for as long as the individual and those who run the house feel is necessary. Usually, it is decided on a case-by-case basis, but according to the DRC of Ohio, some facilities have programs that run from “three to six months,” “six to nine months,” or even longer, depending on the individual facility.

Usually, halfway houses offer some form of help for these specific issues: substance abuse, education, vocation, health, and social skills. Each program is different, and for individuals who stay there, the program may include some combination of the treatments or help below, including:

  • Substance Abuse
    • Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous (or another 12-step program)
    • Random drug and alcohol testing
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy as a treatment for addiction
  • Education
    • GED referrals and classes
    • Money management
  • Vocation
    • Job placement
    • Financial counseling/assistance
    • Resume help
  • Health
    • HIV/AIDS awareness
    • Psychological evaluations
  • Social Skills
    • Life skills classes
    • Anger management