If you’ve never been in a halfway house or never had a friend or family member in one, you may not understand their purpose or how they work. A halfway house provides support to individuals who are newly in recovery and are committed to life without addiction. They are transitional living facilities that offer more freedom than inpatient treatment programs.
Halfway houses require residents to remain sober while living there and may require breathalyzer or drug tests. A halfway house is an excellent opportunity for many to receive help and support while transitioning back into everyday life.
The Purpose of a Halfway House
Sometimes called a “sober living house,” a halfway house is meant for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Often residents in a halfway house come from a long-term addiction treatment center, prison, or a homeless situation. For some, a halfway house is the beginning of their alcohol or drug addiction recovery. Under some circumstances, courts can also order individuals to go to a halfway house. However, halfway houses are an ideal step for those who have completed a medical detox or an inpatient treatment program.
A halfway house allows those in recovery to get back on their feet, find reliable employment, and feel confident in their sobriety. The length of stay in a halfway house varies from one person to the next. Typically, residents stay between three and twelve months, depending on their unique needs and future living situation. The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found that the average stay was between 166 and 254 days. However, Psych Central suggests that the ideal length of time in long-term drug treatment is at least a year. Since these homes are frequently the last transition before going back home, remaining in one for a longer time might improve the foundation for long-term recovery.
Eligibility for a Halfway House
The main requirement for a halfway house resident eligibility is sobriety. Residents who live there must be willing to stay sober, even if it takes work. Those who have already completed an addiction treatment program are typically the most successful as a resident in a halfway house.
A halfway house offers recovery support, freedom, and also some structure. Residents can work or go to school while living in one. However, they are typically required to go to 12-step or other recovery meetings and show a commitment to their continued recovery.
Halfway Houses Have General Rules
To fulfill their unique purpose, halfway houses must have some rules. Those who move into the halfway house must agree to abide by the rules. Typically, the rules are some version of the following:
- You must contribute to the house by doing chores.
- You must remain sober—drug and alcohol use isn’t tolerated.
- You must agree to random drug testing.
- Fighting or violence toward other residents or staff isn’t tolerated.
- No stealing or destroying property that doesn’t belong to you.
- You must obey the curfew.
- You must regularly go to 12-step or other recovery meetings.
- If you don’t already have a job or go to school, you may be required to interview for jobs.
If someone violates the rules, they will face the consequences. For example, they may be asked to pay fines, make amends in some other way, or leave the house altogether.
Halfway House Costs
The cost of staying in a halfway house varies by location. Typically, they range from $800-$1300 per month. Individuals seeking to continue their recovery at a halfway house can generally expect to spend what they would spend on a modest apartment’s monthly rent in their area.
While cost will be an obstacle for some in recovery, there are several options for managing the expense, including:
- Grants or scholarships
- Personal savings
- Credit cards
- Bank loans
- Borrowing from friends or family
- Payment plans with the sober living facility if they offer them
People shouldn’t let finances get in the way of getting the help they need. If you or someone you love needs a halfway house, it’s crucial to discuss what options might be available with the halfway house.
Is a Halfway House Right for You or Your Loved One?
Unfortunately, sober living homes aren’t for everyone. However, if you think halfway house living might be for you or a loved one, you can get recommendations from:
- Your doctor or therapist
- Your inpatient treatment center
- Your attorney, if you have one
- Members of your 12-step or other recovery meetings
- Google search reviews
If you or someone you love is in need of a halfway house the Sam Risso Foundation has it’s very own halfway house names Risso’s Respite. You can visit their Facebook page or Instagram page @samrissofoundation or call one of the Executive Directors Liz Chelak directly at (863) 558-3297.