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.

Half way house

Half way house

Half way houses essentially are transitional living spaces for anyone who is in recovery from drugs and alcohol. You may also know half way houses as sober living or sober living houses, this is because in some states it is legally required that those terms be used. The people who go to half way houses usually go after they have been in drug treatment, prison, or have been homeless. Other people go to half way houses merely because they want to be in a sober environment to begin their recovery. There also some people who are court ordered to half way houses.

Half way houses can be private homes, apartments, or facilities specially built to provide support services to residents. Half way houses are not usually run down or scary. Depending on the location and type of half way house, they are fairly nice. Half way houses are usually decorated, come with all the furniture, amenities, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms that can hold one or two residents, pools, backyards and more. The half way house is not only a place for people to get sober but also a place for having fun sober and socializing.

For instance, in a half way house there are rules dealing with curfew, how many meetings a resident has to attend, whether or not a resident has to have a sponsor and during what times they can be in the house. Most half way houses are trying to help you get sober and also get your life back on track. So some half way houses have rules that say you must be out looking for a job, volunteering or working-if you aren’t doing those things than you can’t stay there. When it comes to curfew at a half way house it usually starts out fairly early and after a resident has been there for a while and successfully followed the rules, gets later. There are also chores that must be done daily and punishments for not doing them. The whole point of a half way house is to teach accountability, responsibility and sobriety. The strictness of the rules at a half way house varies from house to house.

More often than not half way houses require their future residents to pass a breathalyzer and a drug test. This is because if you were to have substances in your body, you may need the help of a medical facility for detox. The withdrawal symptoms from drugs can be very painful and sometimes fatal so it is best if future residents can’t pass a drug test or breathalyzer to go to a medical detox.     

Half way houses are quite frequently run by people who are also in recovery and were in a half way house at one point in their life. Half way houses usually are separated by gender. This means that most half way houses are either for only women or only men. The person who runs the half way house determines this. The person who runs the halfway house also determines some of the half way house rules.

A half way house merely is a residential place for those who need a safe place to transition back into the world again and to do it sober.

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

Sober House Visitation Rules

Sober House Visitation Rules

Sober houses have many rules when it comes to just about everything in daily life and that includes what visitors and when. The reason sober houses have rules are because they are meant to give recovering addicts and alcoholics a safe, stable, and structured environment where they can slowly begin participating in society again. Sober houses are usually the transition from inpatient rehab to living independently or going back home. The length of time someone should stay in a sober house after inpatient rehab varies all on the individual circumstances. Here are some guidelines on sober house visitation rules and other rules/facts about sober houses.

  • Sober houses aren’t free

People who are living in a sober house are expected to pay rent, utility and to buy their own groceries. Paying for these things is actually a good thing because it helps build independence and accountability.

  • Sober houses are a community

Sober houses are all about community. In a sober house the individual shares the space and responsibilities with someone else who is going through the same thing they are. By doing this the recovering drug addict or alcoholic can gain self-esteem and accountability.

  • There is random drug testing at sober houses

In order to keep the sober house safe many require random drug testing. This keeps everyone living in the sober house safe and keeps them from relapsing.

And last but not least sober houses have visitation rules. Depending on how strict the sober house is, which can vary from house to house, the visitation rules can range from anyone can come to only family etc. Most sober house’s visitation rules are somewhere in the middle of safe but also understanding. Sober houses usually allow a maximum number of people to come visit the person living in the sober house. Visitation rules at the sober house also specify the time and days when visitations can occur. For instance a sober house may say that visitors are only allowed on Sundays from 3:30 to 6:30. Other sober houses my allow visitors whenever and then there are other sober houses that have visitation rules that require filling out a pass. For instance, if a resident of a sober house wanted to have visitors on any day they would need to fill out a request form and give it to the sober house manager or let the sober house manager know. From that point on the sober house manager would decide the specific set of rules for that resident and their visitors. Some visitation rules at some sober houses will require the visitors to check in at an office and require their ID. This is a precautionary measure to keep all the residents in the sober house safe. It is very easy for an addict or alcoholic who isn’t doing the right thing to lie and lies can be made about visitors and visitors could bring drugs or alcohol onto the property. The reason sober houses’ even have visitation rules to begin with is for this reason. Everything about a sober house including the visitation rules are meant to protect and ensure the sobriety of every residence living there.

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

A day in the life of a sober house tenant

A day in the life of a sober house tenant

For those who have never been a sober house tenant it can be hard and even impossible to imagine what it’s like. Luckily we have so here’s a glimpse inside a day in the life of a sober house tenant.

A day in the life of a sober house tenant usually begins as most other people’s days do. You wake up, stretch and think of your day ahead.

Usually sober houses have rules that require their tenants to be out of the house for certain period of times. This is either to look for a job, go volunteer, or go to work. For the tenants who have jobs they don’t need to be out of the house but do need to keep their job and go to work.


  • Wake up.
  • Take a shower.
  • Cup of coffee.
  • Breakfast
  • Daily prayer and meditation


You must be out of the house looking for a job if you don’t have one or volunteering. If you have a job and it is your day off you are free to sleep in.


Come home.

Do chores. A day in the life of a sober house tenant requires working with other men or women to keep the house clean. Chores will be assigned on a weekly basis and if you don’t get them done you will get put on early curfew. So you come home from your day out and do your chores whether its cleaning the kitchen, trash duty, floors, bathroom etc. Get it done!


  • Eat dinner.
  • Take another shower.
  • Step work with sponsor.


Go to a meeting. Most sober house tenants are required to attend one meeting a day at least. Usually if you don’t have a job you can go to meetings early during the day instead of at night but if you have a job or are looking for one or are volunteering you can make your meeting at night. Go out with friends for dinner after, maybe ice cream too!


Come home. Usually curfew at a sober house is around 10pm for the first 30 days. So you hang out with the other sober house tenants. This is one of the coolest things about being a sober house tenant, your other tenants become like your family. You talk, you hang out together, you support each other and you stick by each other’s sides no matter what. You can also use this time to get done whatever you havent had time to do yet.


House meeting. A house meeting usually happens once a week and it is time for everyone to check in and make sure they have been doing everything they need to do for their sobriety and for their life. The house meeting is a time to get called out for anything you haven’t been putting enough effort or time into. The house manager and sober house owner are usually there and this is where you can voice concerns, positive affirmations, worries, what you need help, schedule time to meet with your house manager etc.


Hang out.

Get ready for bed.

Listen to music.

Prayer and meditation- prayer and meditation is essential to being a sober house tenant because it is essential to long term recovery.

And then in this day in the life of a sober house tenant you just hit repeat mixed with a little bit of progress. You will get that better job, make more friends, get more clean time and eventually be ready to move out. You will have created a life for yourself by just taking these baby steps towards life again.

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