How to Start a Halfway House

How to Start a Halfway House

 

What is a Halfway House?

Halfway Houses are transitional living places for those in recovery from drugs or alcohol. They are also called sober houses. Some people go to halfway houses from a treatment center, prison, or a homeless situation, while others go there to be in a sober and clean environment to begin the recovery process. Some residents are in halfway houses due to court orders.

Aspects of a Halfway House

Many halfway houses are run by people who themselves were at one time a halfway house resident. The houses accommodate either men or women. Most halfway houses require residents to pass breathalyzer and drug screening tests. Some houses have curfews.

Make sure the house is located so that your residents can easily get to AA and NA meetings. In recovery, we are self-supporting. Be certain that you are clear on what is expected from you and what you expect from your residents. Assign cleaning chores, including making their beds and keeping their rooms tidy.

Choose a house near public transportation for those of your residents who do not have their own transportation.

Why You Should Start a Halfway House

You should only open a halfway house if you are passionate about the cause. And, if you are passionate, it can be done with little or no money. There are various grants and loans available to get a house started. Learn from experience and check with someone who already has a house to see how to open one.

How to Start a Halfway House

Step 1: Acquire the licenses and permits needed to operate a halfway house in the community you select.

Step 2: Purchase or lease a property. Your financial circumstances may dictate this choice, but county, city, township and other lawmaking agencies frequently require property ownership before they are willing to sanction a halfway house in a residential neighborhood. Once you find one or more likely properties, have your top choices inspected by a certified building inspector to avoid “buyer’s remorse.”

Step 3: Renovate the property. Unless the home you buy was operated as a halfway house in the past, you’ll likely have to modify it to accommodate zoning laws that sanction the number of people you can house there, or any personal limits you’ve placed on resident capacity. Purchase insurance to cover the house and its contents, and add liability coverage to protect your personal assets from lawsuits. A regular homeowner’s policy isn’t adequate for a group home.

Step 4: Hire staff and create policies, rules and regulations. Having staff in place before the first resident arrives is a huge advantage, because experienced halfway house employees can help you write an operations manual and set rules, regulations and policies that will guide both clients and staff. Make sure you run background checks on everyone, from counselors to housekeeping employees.

Step 5: Set up the accounting aspects of your halfway house so it operates smoothly well into the future. Accurate records are important if you want your sponsors to continue making financial contributions, and it goes without saying that finding additional sponsors will be an ongoing activity.

Step 6: Implement programming. Residents released from rehab programs require an inordinate amount of structure in their lives so they can learn to become responsible members of both the halfway house and the outside world. Establish tight schedules that include mandated housekeeping chores, group counseling sessions, one-on-one therapy time, recreational activities, job searching and life skill building time. Plan social events, meetings and include alone time.

Remember: It is unlawful to discriminate in housing. The Supreme Court has ruled that recovering alcoholics and drug addicts are a protected class under the handicapped provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988. If you seek a house in a good neighborhood, you’ll find it.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.sba.gov

http://halfwayhouse.com

http://smallbusiness.chron.com

http://soberhouse.net

 

 

 

 

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

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