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.








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

What is a Three-Quarter House?

 Three Quarterway House

A Three-Quarter House is a sober-living house or community. In order to understand what a Three-Quarter House is, you must first understand what a Halfway House is.

What is a Halfway House?

A halfway house is a communal living space for recovering alcoholics and addicts who want to transition back to independent living after having completed inpatient treatment or for those who have committed to a sober lifestyle without having undergone treatment.  A three-quarter house is much like this; it is another level of transition before going back out into the world.

After living for some time, usually 3 to 6 months, at a halfway house, many recovering alcoholics and addicts opt to move into a three-quarter house before getting their own apartment or before returning to their living situations prior to getting clean and sober, including returning to their families and  normal home life. For those with families, even those that include children, living in three-quarters houses is beneficial as an added level of support to the recovery process.

So Then, What is a Three-Quarter House?

The main distinction between a halfway house and a three-quarter house is that there are many more freedoms granted to residents of three-quarter living. Often times, there is still a curfew imposed by the three-quarter house rules but it is later than that of a halfway house. Also, residents get to stay out even later on weekends. Another freedom afforded to residents is the overnight and weekend pass which allows them to go on trips and mini-vacations or to visit their families.

What to expect

Just like halfway houses, three-quarter houses are designed to support and encourage recovering alcoholics and addicts as they navigate the process of getting back on their feet, so to speak. While living at a three-quarter house, residents are encouraged to begin working again, as they are responsible for paying rent just like in any other housing situation. Three-quarter houses also provide much needed structure to their residents. There are rules and curfews. Residents are subject to random drug screening. This is to promote accountability as well as to ensure the safety and well-being of the other residents who are serious about their recovery. A typical requirement for living in a three-quarter house is to attend a specified number of 12 Step fellowship meetings (i.e. AA, NA, or CA). Again, this is done to ensure accountability on the residents’ behalf that they are continuing to work a program while doing all the typical day-to-day activities such as going to work, grocery shopping, etc.

Additional benefits and support

Besides providing a safe, drug-free environment, three-quarter houses may provide their own, or access to intensive outpatient programs. These programs offer continuing group therapy to residents of three-quarter houses and usually do so in the form of evening sessions so that residents can attend work while receiving therapy. Being a sober living community in and of itself can be beneficial to its residents because they have the added benefit of living with sober peers. Often times, residents of the three-quarter house will have impromptu and informal meetings amongst themselves. Or they may even decide to have weekly meetings and literature (i.e. the Big Book) study groups.

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

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety?

Meetings for long-term sobriety

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety

When I first heard that I’d be expected to go to meetings for the rest of my life as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was appalled. In fact, this kept me out of the rooms for a long time. I tried every other way to get sober, just so I wouldn’t have to go to AA. I tried religion, exercise, abstinence, alcohol maintenance, marijuana maintenance, suboxone, meditation, travel, moving, changing friends, changing boyfriends, changing careers. I bought a book that told me that it could cure my addiction, and I followed every step. I saw therapists. I bought a dog. I even tried going to AA meetings.

Let me just clarify: going to AA meetings did not keep me sober. I went to meetings, but I didn’t get a sponsor or work the steps, and I ended up back in treatment.  I do not want to downplay the importance of meetings. I regularly attend meetings and I definitely think they are important to long-term sobriety. However, meetings alone could not keep me sober.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety:  Fellowship

Without meetings, I would not have met most of the wonderful people in my life today. I would not get to hear the experience, strength, and hope of fellow alcoholics. I feel at home at AA meetings, surrounded by people who have survived many of the same things I have. To this day, I hear speakers that open my eyes to the world around me.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety:  Accountability

In my addiction, I often isolated myself. Usually, when I fell off the map for a while, it meant things were getting really bad. I’d be holed up somewhere, getting high, while I declined every call that came in on my cell. Eventually, people stopped calling or my phone would get shut off because I didn’t pay the bill. It was a sad, lonely existence, but it served me well. If I was alone, no one could criticize me for my choices, make me feel guilty for using, or monitor how much I was using. I wasn’t accountable to anyone.

Meetings are important to long-term sobriety because they help me stay accountable to other people. If I’m not there, people ask me why. If I show up and I’m clearly upset or in my head, there are people there that notice.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety: Helping others

The number one reason that meetings are so important to long-term sobriety is that they allow me to carry the message to newcomers, which is our primary purpose in recovery: to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. If I don’t go to meetings, I don’t get to see these newcomers or pick up new sponsees. Taking another woman through the steps is very important to long-term sobriety, at least in my case.

All-in-all, I’ve learned to love meetings. I no longer see it as a “chore” to have to go to a meeting. In fact, when I start looking at it as a chore, that’s probably when I need a meeting the most. To give one hour of my life to my recovery in a day is a pretty good deal.

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