Updated on April 3, 2024
6 min read

What Is a Halfway House?

Key Takeaways

  • Halfway houses are living facilities where people go as part of their drug or alcohol aftercare rehab
  • Although there are similarities to sober living homes, halfway houses are cheaper and have different facilities
  • Halfway houses are can help people transition back to their normal lives after treatment
  • Halfway houses offer valuable skills and support to help people reintegrate into society

What is a Halfway House?

A halfway house is a living facility where people go as a part of their drug rehab aftercare. These houses are similar to sober houses or transitional housing.

They offer a middle step for people who are committed to sober living but aren't ready to live independently. Depending on your needs, you can live in a halfway house for a few weeks or months. 

A halfway house is a good option if returning to normal life is too overwhelming, but you no longer need medical supervision. It allows you to live in a safe, substance-free environment while readjusting to life outside treatment.


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Who Can Live in a Halfway House?

Qualifications to live in a halfway house vary based on the facility. They are generally open to people who have completed an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program.

You can live at the facility as long as you can remain sober. However, many halfway houses limit how long residents can stay.

Whether you're ready or not, you may be required to move out after several months. People who have detoxed and spent some time sober are most likely to succeed in this environment.

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Guidelines & Rules of Halfway Houses

Halfway houses provide more freedom to residents than inpatient treatment programs. However, they still offer more structure and a larger support system than independent living.

Rules vary from place to place, but in general, residents of halfway houses are expected to:

  • Remain sober
  • Submit to random drug and/or alcohol testing
  • Contribute to the house
  • Attend house meetings
  • Respect the property and space of other residents and staff members
  • Avoid fighting with other residents
  • Adhere to a curfew
  • Attend a 12-step or similar program

Some halfway houses also require residents to work or seek gainful employment during their stay.

Benefits of Halfway Houses for Addiction Treatment

Living in a halfway house benefits many people undergoing addiction treatment. They provide additional support and puts them in a sober living environment.

Returning to regular life after rehab is a difficult transition for many. Halfway houses offer a bridge between these two realities.

The benefits of living in a halfway house include:

Holds Residents Accountable

Learning accountability is an important skill for people in recovery. Most halfway houses have rules to follow and help residents set boundaries. It helps many people adjust to the demands of the outside world. It also teaches them responsibility and that authority isn’t negative.

Sober Living

Halfway houses require everyone to live without alcohol or drug use. This removes temptation and helps people in recovery see that it is possible to enjoy life without these substances.

Sobriety is an active part of everyone’s lives and is celebrated in these environments. Many halfway houses also make attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step meetings mandatory.

Surrounded By Peers

It can be difficult for people in recovery to get the social interaction they need. It can be hard for some to find new friends or social circles that respect their new lifestyle. Halfway houses offer social interaction with people who understand the challenges of sober living.

Employability Skills

Many halfway houses offer support and guidance for finding a job. Some even require you to look for work while living on the premises. If you struggle to find steady work, this support is invaluable.

Residents may receive help with:

  • Creating a resume
  • Filling out applications online
  • Learning how to do interviews

Personal Growth

Some rehab specialists recommend that people struggling with long-term substance abuse should live in a halfway house for at least a year. This can give them enough time to:

  • Adjust to life after treatment
  • Learn how to embrace sobriety
  • Develop new life skills
  • Learn how to become self-reliant
  • Improve their mental health

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How Much Does Halfway Housing Cost?

Generally, the cost of living at a halfway house ranges from $100 to $2,000 per month. Most facilities with basic amenities cost about $400 to $800 per month, depending on their geographic region.

The cost of living at a halfway house varies widely based on the facility and the amenities offered. Insurance coverage and other financial support are sometimes available to help with the cost. 

How to Pay for Halfway Housing

Financial support for living at a halfway house is available from:

  • Insurance
  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Bank loans

Some transitional housing facilities accept credit card payments or offer in-house financing. This allows you to spread out payments over several weeks or months.

Halfway Houses vs. Sober Living Homes

Halfway houses and sober living homes ease people from inpatient treatment to independent living. The differences between halfway houses and sober living homes depend on the specific facilities.

Sober Living Houses

A sober living facility is usually affiliated with a specific addiction treatment center. They serve as a stepping stone for people who are past inpatient treatment but still need other treatment programs for recovery. In general, sober living houses tend to offer more privacy and comfort than halfway houses.

Halfway Houses

Halfway houses are dorm-style living spaces owned by a government or private agency. They can also be more crowded than sober living homes and offer fewer amenities.

If a person comes from a correctional facility, they can be court-mandated to live in a halfway house for a predetermined amount of time. Because of this, halfway houses can be used by the homeless or people coming out of incarceration.

Some halfway houses are dedicated to help people who have completed addiction treatment. In most cases, halfway houses cost less than sober living homes. However, insurance might cover at least a portion of the cost.

Other Treatment Options for Addiction

Everyone responds differently to treatment. This is why it's important to consult your doctor to find the right treatment method for your needs.

There are alternatives if you think a halfway house isn't for you. Other treatment options for addiction include:

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Updated on April 3, 2024

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