What is a halfway house?

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A halfway house, also known as a ‘sober living house,’ is a safe, sober living facility for people who would like to transition from prison to a rehab center or for people who have completed inpatient rehab and are transitioning back into society. But what exactly is the meaning of a halfway house? A halfway house is a facility that is less structured than a rehab program but is more supportive than simply returning home after rehab. This article will answer questions like: what’s a halfway house, what is it like living in a halfway house, and how does a halfway house work.

What’s The Purpose of a Halfway House?

The purpose of a halfway house is to help people who need some support to reintegrate into society after completing rehab. For people who do not have a supportive network, or have negative influences at home, it is worthwhile to first live at a halfway house – a safe environment where there are like-minded people who can help them grow and achieve sobriety in the real world.

Depending on how emotionally strong the person is when they enter rehab or how supportive their home environment is, people can stay at a halfway house for anywhere between a few weeks and a year. Most people do not need to live in a halfway house for more than 4 or 5 months. 

Who Can Join a Halfway House?

Different halfway houses serve different needs for different people. For example, some halfway houses are geared towards people leaving prison, while others may be intended for people who have finished an inpatient drug rehab program. There are also halfway houses for people with mental health issues or for people who are homeless and need support getting themselves on their feet again. If you or your loved one have completed an inpatient drug rehabilitation program and are considering joining a halfway house, find out if there are any halfway houses near you for people trying to achieve sobriety.

What Can I Expect at a Halfway House?

For people who have graduated from an intense drug rehab program, a halfway house has less structure and allows more freedom. You can continue with your regular job or schooling but have to adhere to several house rules. Additionally, most halfway houses require consistent participation in 12-step groups or other support groups for recovering addicts. There may also be staff members who support the recovery process, like social workers, therapists, and counselors.

Many people want to know, can you have a cell phone in a halfway house? Although in inpatient care, recovering addicts may not have their personal phones, halfway houses are generally more lenient. At some houses, the residents are allowed to have their phones during the day, but they must give them in at night. The reason for this is because phones can serve as a big trigger for people who are trying to focus on growth and sobriety, so it’s often more beneficial to be without them while recovering from addiction.

Halfway House Rules 

The rules at a halfway house are usually basic and enforced only to ensure you maximize your time there. Some rules are implemented to protect the other residents and make living together pleasant for everyone. Many halfway houses require a drug screening test before admission as they are not equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms, so residents must complete medical detox before entering.

Common rules and regulations at halfway houses include:

  • No drugs or alcohol whatsoever
  • All residents must remain sober throughout
  • No weapons or violent behavior towards other residents or staff
  • Participation in 12-step groups or other recovery support groups is mandatory
  • Residents must contribute to the running of the home by doing household chores
  • Curfew must be adhered to
  • No destroying public property or other resident’s belongings

Some halfway houses require the residents to be employed or committed to finding a job while living there. Residents may incur a fine or be asked to leave if they violate these rules.

How Much Does a Halfway House Cost?

Every halfway house will have a different cost, depending on how many staff they hire, the local price of rent, and how much privacy is afforded the residents (i.e., if rooms are shared with just two or three people or many more). So, who pays for a halfway house? Halfway houses are often funded partly by the government, although residents must pay some rent and cover their bills, food, and toiletries. Some halfway houses set a fixed price for rent, and others bill a certain percentage of the resident’s income. 


Addiction recovery doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. In an inpatient rehab program, you will discover that many people are traveling down the same road as you, and you can support each other. People who are addicted to drugs will know that no one, no matter how understanding and empathetic, can understand them as well as other recovering addicts and mental health professionals can. That’s why, upon completion of a reputable drug rehab program, it may be worthwhile to transition back to society slowly, through a halfway house.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, know that there is help. Avenues Recovery Center is here to guide and direct you every step of the way to recovery. Our dedicated and professional team have helped thousands of people overcome their addictions and they can help you too! We use a wide array of therapies and personalized treatment plans to facilitate optimal success. We pride ourselves in delivering the highest level of care and professionalism. If you're serious about addiction recovery, reach out to us so that we can introduce you to recovery that works. Contact us today so that we can begin your journey to sobriety together.

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