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What Is a Halfway House?

The saying “you can’t heal in the same environment that made you sick,” is poignant, especially for those who have checked into drug rehab.

Oftentimes, home life isn’t conducive to recovery. Whether we have unsupportive family members, animosity in the home that could be triggering, or others in the home who are actively using, it can set back the recovery process significantly.

Many people choose to live at a halfway house to maximize their time in a recovery environment and to keep themselves strong on their path towards healing.

At Ocean Recovery, we have relationships with some of the best sober living homes in the area and can help place you in the facility that is the best fit for your needs and goals.

Here’s what you should know about halfway houses.

What Is a Halfway House in Addiction Recovery?

Halfway houses [1], also referred to as sober living homes or recovery houses, are transitional living environments for those who are in recovery programs or other institutions. These residential facilities help individuals in recovery remain sober by providing a safe, structured, supportive, and stable environment where individuals learn and practice skills they need to re-enter society.

Who Can Live in a Recovery Halfway House?

Sober living arrangements are designed for those who need more support in their recovery than is available at their own homes. Those who are actively in recovery as well as those who have completed a rehabilitation program and are nearing readiness to re-enter the community stay at halfway houses.

How Long Do You Stay in a Halfway House?

The length of stay in a halfway house varies depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. Some people may stay a few weeks, and others may stay up to a year. The duration of the stay is typically determined by the individual’s progress and stability in their recovery and how easily they will be able to reintegrate back into their everyday lives.
What Kind of Rules do Halfway Houses Have?
Halfway houses typically require their residents to comply with certain rules and regulations. These rules may include curfews, routine drug and alcohol testing and searches, playing an active and productive role in the house, and restrictions on visitors or guests.

The rules of a halfway house are designed to provide structure and accountability to help those in recovery achieve and maintain sobriety and to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.

Are Halfway Houses Required to be Licensed?

Whether or not a sober living facility needs to be licensed depends on the specific locale. In some states, halfway houses are required to be licensed by the Department of Health or the Department of Human Services.

Licensing requirements for a halfway house may include safety regulations, staffing requirements, and standards for care and treatment.

In California, halfway houses are not required to be licensed by the DHCS [2], but are subject to other permits and regulations.

What Types of Services are Typically Offered at a Halfway House?What Types of Services are Typically Offered at a Halfway House?

The specific services of a halfway house may vary [3]. Some halfway houses offer programs such as education and job training to help residents successfully transition back into society. Other halfway houses may provide support groups or counseling. Other halfway houses may be only a residence for those committed to recovery and provide transportation to and from day programs.

All halfway houses are not the same. Before selecting one, determine whether or not the facility meets your unique needs.

Are Halfway Houses the Same as a Residential Treatment Facility?

Halfway houses are not the same as residential treatment facilities. These sober living homes offer transitional housing for those who are in recovery, helping individuals transition back into society and maintain their sobriety outside of a controlled treatment environment.

Many people transition into sober living after finishing a residential program to continue their recovery journey in an outpatient setting.

Can People Leave a Halfway House Whenever They Want?

Those who live in halfway houses are expected to comply with the rules and expectations of the house. Those who live in sober homes are typically free to leave at any time. However, leaving the halfway house without permission, during curfew hours, or otherwise violating the rules of leaving the home can lead to consequences such as eviction from the program.

Are Halfway Houses Safe?

The majority of halfway houses are safe spaces for individuals who are dedicated to bettering their lives and remaining sober. This doesn’t mean, however, that halfway houses are without risk. Living in a communal environment with others struggling with addiction or other mental health issues can sometimes be triggering. However, halfway houses typically have rules and regulations in place to promote safety, such as drug and alcohol testing, security measures, and staff supervision.

Do Halfway Houses Have Staff Available 24 Hours Per Day?

Many halfway houses have staff available around the clock to provide support and monitoring for the residents. Staff may include professionals trained in addiction counseling or security personnel that ensures residents are complying with the rules and regulations of the home.

Can Family Members Visit Someone in a Halfway House?

Depending on the rules and regulations of the halfway house, family members may be allowed to visit residents. However, there may be restrictions on when and how often visits are allowed, as well as rules regarding the behavior of visitors while on the premises.
Can People Work While Living in a Halfway House?

Residents of a halfway house may be encouraged or required to work or attend school as part of their transition back into society. This may include job training or assistance with finding employment, as well as support for educational pursuits such as GED preparation or college courses.

What Happens if Someone Violates Halfway House Rules?

If a resident violates the rules of a halfway house, consequences may range from a warning to eviction from the facility. The specific consequences may depend on the severity of the violation, as well as facility policy. In some cases, residents may be given the opportunity to address and amend issues before more serious consequences are imposed.

Can People Bring Their Own Medications to a Halfway House?

Whether or not someone can bring their own medications into a sober living home depends on the facility’s policy. Some facilities permit residents to bring outside medications but have restrictions on the amount and type of medication. Other facilities have restrictions in place that require medications administered by staff members.

What Happens When Someone Completes a Program at a Halfway House?

Once an individual has been deemed ready to leave the hallway house, it is time to reintegrate fully back into the community and live independently. At Ocean Recovery, we ensure that those in our programs have access to follow-up services or aftercare to help maintain sobriety and stay strong in recovery once they leave sober living homes.

Are Halfway Houses Only for People With Addiction Issues?

Halfway houses are designed to support many different populations. Some halfway houses are specific for individuals with mental health issues or those who have recently been released from prison. The focus of the facility may vary depending on the needs of the population being served.

Many halfway houses are restricted to only those in recovery programs.

How Much Does it Cost to Stay in a Halfway House?

The cost of staying in a halfway house varies depending on the location and amenities offered, and whether or not residents are responsible for their own food and other expenses. Prices can range from a few hundred to even a few thousand dollars, depending on the facility.

Some halfway houses may offer scholarships or financial assistance for individuals who cannot afford the full cost of their stay.

Are Halfway Houses Covered by Insurance?

Some insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of halfway house services, while others may not cover it at all. During your initial consultation with Oceans Recovery, we will do our best to place you in a facility that meets your insurance requirements.

Can People Bring Their Pets to a Halfway House?

This can vary depending on the policies of the halfway house. Some halfway houses do not allow residents to bring pets with them due to concerns related to safety and hygiene, whereas others encourage residents to bring pets as part of their support system.

Are Halfway Houses Co-ed or Gender Specific?

Some halfway houses are co-ed, while others may be gender-specific.

Can You Use Tobacco Products at a Halfway House?

Not all halfway houses have the same policy on smoking, vaping, or other tobacco products. Some facilities may have designated smoking areas or allow smoking in certain locations, while others may have a strict tobacco-free campus.

How Do I Find a Halfway House?

At Ocean Recovery, we understand that your environment has the potential to shape your recovery journey. We offer placement services for those who are in need of a safe, structured, stable home environment during recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or mental health disorders, call and speak with a member of our team today.


[1] Georgia Consumer Protection Division. (n.d.). Retrieved from on 2023, March 24. [2] (n.d.). Retrieved from on 2023, March 24. [3] Elkins, C. Drug (2020, February 27). Retrieved from on 2023, March 24.

Last medically reviewed May 10, 2023.