Yes. You will find halfway houses vastly located throughout the United States and a good number of them within residential areas making it easier for residents to integrate into the community.
However, starting a halfway house in a residential neighborhood has proven to be quite challenging because homeowners and homeowners associations are not willing to entertain such facilities in their area.
A good number of halfway house residents have been in jail or might have been dealing with drugs or alcohol abuse, and this has proven to be one of the most notable concerns to those who live in the area.
Pros and Cons of Halfway Houses in Residential Neighborhoods
There are indeed pros and cons that come with having a halfway house in residential neighborhoods. They include;
- Community Integration: Establishing a halfway house in a residential neighborhood makes it easier and more convenient for individuals in recovery to reintegrate into the community.
- Support Network: These neighborhoods are also known to provide a supportive environment for residents who are willing to make good friends outside the facility, who will be willing to listen to their experiences while also supporting them in their recovery journey.
- Access to Services: By establishing a halfway house in a residential neighborhood, you make it more convenient for your residents to easily access local services, employment opportunities, as well as educational resources.
- Reduced Stigma: With a halfway house in a residential area, it means you get the opportunity to convince people who already have a bad perception of halfway houses to see it in a new and better light.
- Concerns About Safety: You will most definitely have to put up with residents who have genuine concerns regarding safety and security since they believe there is a high possibility for relapses or disturbances.
- Property Values: For decades, there has been this notion that the establishment of halfway houses as well as other group homes negatively impact property values owing to the stigma associated with addiction treatment facilities.
- Zoning Issues: Zoning regulations tend to limit the establishment of such facilities in certain residential areas. Note that this could also lead to legal and regulatory challenges.
- Negative Perceptions: Even with the numerous efforts to deal with the growing stigma these facilities face, there might still be negative perceptions regarding halfway houses, affecting community acceptance.
Requirements to Open a Halfway House in Residential Neighborhoods
Research local zoning regulations
Don’t forget that zoning regulations vary from one location to another, and in some places, there are precise requirements when it comes to the ideal location as well as the operation of such facilities.
Understating these regulations will guide you to make the right decisions, and ensure your facility aligns with the needs of the community.
Once you have fully understood your local zoning regulations and also determined the ideal location for your facility, you might want to make certain modifications to ensure that the structure aligns with local zoning requirements.
Don’t also forget that the location as well as the necessary renovations will also work to determine the number of people that are allowed to reside in the house.
If you intend to run the home as a non-profit, then this is the point where you have to start looking into financial help to ensure you can carry out repairs, and modifications, and furniture can be purchased.
Get the proper insurance
Owing to the vast liability that comes with opening up a halfway or sober living house, you must carry out extensive research to understand your insurance needs and ensure you purchase special insurance that will cover the facility, contents, and coverage that will safeguard the owners’ assets. Extra liability coverage might very well be required.
Hire experienced staff
To ensure that you don’t have to deal with re-occurring issues of disturbance from your neighbors, it is recommended that you hire the right team to run the facility.
Be sure that those you hire are appropriately trained and that they possess previous experience in handling residents in a halfway house.
Develop an operations manual
This manual is very important to both residents and the staff. It is one of the tools you need to convince those who are against the establishment of your halfway house in their residential neighborhood that you are in control and will always work to guarantee peace and safety in the community.
You can leverage a template for writing your operations and policy manuals from government entities such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or find templates on non-profit websites.
It is also possible to borrow documents already put up by another halfway house and adjust the contents to align with your own unique needs.