Do you want to start halfway house for inmates? If YES, here is a 20-step guide on how to start a halfway house for inmates with no money or experience. Please note that if you intend to start this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations…


Are you wondering what the difference is between a sober house and halfway house? If YES, here is everything you need to know in 2022. Note that the very first days or weeks tend to be very difficult for patients who have just finished an inpatient detox program. Recovering addicts will always witness various triggers…


Do you want to know how much halfway house owners make in profit? If YES, here are factors that will influence the amount halfway house owners make in profit. Halfway houses are a major feature of the criminal justice system, but very little data is ever published about them. Broadly speaking, there are two reasons…


Are you about starting a Halfway House company and need to write a plan? If YES, here is a detailed sample Halfway House business plan template & FREE feasibility report. If you live in the United States, Canada and in most developed countries of the world, you will quite agree that it is indeed brisk…


State corrections departments, probation/parole offices, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) can also contract with nonprofits and private companies to manage these facilities. These contracts are the primary means through which halfway houses receive funding. Federally contracted halfway houses are called Residential Reentry Centers (RRCs).

State-licensed halfway houses can be also be known by a variety of terms, like Transitional Centers, Re-entry Centers, Community Recovery Centers, etc. These facilities work with corrections departments to house individuals leaving incarceration, most times as a condition of parole or other post-release supervision or housing plan.

“Halfway house” can also refer to a few other types of facilities: Sober living houses, Restitution centers, and community based/residential correctional facilities that act as alternatives to traditional incarceration, etc.

Have it in mind that some facilities, like community-based correctional facilities, can serve dual purposes that complicate the lines of what facilities are and are not halfway houses. For example, a community-based corrections facility might primarily house people who have been ordered to serve their full sentences at the facility but also house some individuals who are preparing for release.

Halfway houses are a primary feature of the criminal justice system, but very little data tends to be published about them. According to experts, there are two reasons for this obscurity: First, halfway houses are more or less privately operated and don’t report data the way public facilities are expected to; second, the term “halfway house” is widely used to refer to vastly different types of facilities.

How to Start a Halfway House

Note that the main requirements to start a halfway house tend to vary, depending on where you are and what population of clients you intend to serve. Starting and managing your own halfway house can be a rich and rewarding experience, with many houses filling up before they even open. Whether you’re in it for profit or community service, below are steps to take to achieve this goal.

  1. Conduct A Need Analysis

First, have it in mind that will need to systematically evaluate your current state as well as your vision for your halfway house in the future. This includes identifying priorities, organizational processes, and necessary resources to meet the needs of staff and residents.

You may also have to seek professional guidance to address related issues, such as determining the best location, pricing, and promotion strategies, obtaining the proper insurance policy and coverage to protect the house in case of an insurance claim or loss and evaluating the overall potential financial and operational performance of the halfway house.

  1. Niche

On your journey on how to start a halfway house for inmates, the first question is what niche you specifically want to target. Remember, a halfway house is simply a name. Note that the idea for how to start a halfway house for inmates can be tossed with several things! It could be a sober house for individuals with sobriety issues, or it could be a house for people transitioning out of jail.

In the same vein, one could start a halfway house for people with chronic mental illnesses where there is a more significant need for residential support services and possibly staff. One of the most important things that you can do is decide what demographic do you want to serve.

  1. Make A Business Plan

You will also need to create a business plan to identify your goals and streamline the process of opening your halfway house. You will want to pen down your company name, mission, description, and services, determine what type of residence you will purchase or rent, how many residents you will accommodate at any given time, and what services you will provide.

Furthermore, you will also have to study and analyze any other halfway houses nearby to determine what works (and what doesn’t work) and determine how you will make your halfway house stand out from the competition.

  1. Research Zoning Laws In The Area Where The House Will Be Located

Indeed, local zoning laws regulate the use of land and the structures built on it. These laws will have to determine whether an existing property can be repurposed. Halfway houses that offer clinical services on-site are more or less not zoned as ordinary housing in residential neighborhoods, so researching zoning laws in the area where the house will be located is a critical step that will help eliminate potential issues along the way.

Note that most halfway houses are located in residential neighborhoods. As a result, sometimes owners face opposition from long-time residents of the neighborhood who argue that having a halfway house nearby makes the area less safe. Indeed, those claims are false and Halfway house residents are legally protected against NIMBY (not in my back yard) discrimination from neighbors or even city officials who don’t want recovering people living nearby.

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against people based on their disability or mental health condition, including substance use disorders. Aside from zoning, you may also want to choose a location that is within walking distance of:

  • Bus stations and public transportation options
  • 12-Step meetings and other community support group meetings
  • Grocery stores
  • Laundry facilities (if the residence does not have a washer or dryer)
  • Community colleges/universities
  • Establish resident criteria.
  1. Calculate Your Overhead Costs

Take your time to make a list of all the costs associated with opening your halfway house. This should include the rent or mortgage payment for the house, utilities, staff salaries, furniture, internet, cable, appliances, and any other expenses you will need to pay to ensure your halfway house is ready for residents.

Once you are done compiling this list, create a budget for your operation and determine how much you will need to charge your residents. Always remember that this will vary based on location and many clients will need affordable sober housing to get back on their feet after rehab.

  1. Write A Policy Handbook

You should also prepare a policy handbook for your halfway house to set the standard for residents’ rights and responsibilities. This should include things like a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol, admission requirements, house meeting attendance and program requirements, expectations for regular drug and alcohol testing, as well as household rules and expectations. When you open your halfway house and begin housing people in recovery, it’s ideal to have each resident review and sign the policy handbook upon admission and give them a copy to keep.

  1. Promote and Market Your Halfway house

As you work to start and run your halfway house, it is imperative to leverage all marketing tools available to you. Setting yourself apart from the competition with a creative and compelling story and mission, and highlighting any previous related success will improve your odds of gaining the trust and business of potential clients within your community. There are many different strategies you can use to promote and advertise your halfway house, such as:

  • Using internet marketing tools and advertisements
  • Creating a website for your halfway house and using effective strategies that will increase traffic to it
  • Promoting your halfway house via social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
  • Investing in advertisements for local newspapers, TV, and radio stations
  • Creating brochures and pamphlets to distribute to related organizations and businesses such as hospitals, recovery-related clubs, and organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals, etc.
  • Providing incentives for word-of-mouth referrals
  • Listing your halfway house in local directories (online and print)
  • Networking with other local professionals and organizations
  • Sponsoring community events
  • Providing staff members with branded uniforms, vehicles, etc. to increase brand recognition
  • Hiring marketing experts and professionals to promote your halfway house services for you


Halfway houses offer a second chance for troubled individuals to start over. The requirements to start your house vary, depending on where you are and what population of clients you choose to serve. Owning and operating your own halfway house can be a rich and rewarding experience, with many houses filling up before they even open. Whether you’re in it for profit or community service, be sure to research the applicable regulations before you open your house to someone needing a new beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is The Purpose Of A Halfway House?

The primary focus of halfway houses is to help reformed convicts gain self-sufficiency and to treat those with mental disorders. Many halfway houses offer drug or alcohol addiction treatment, and it is also common for those who have already received addiction treatment to be accepted into a halfway house.

  1. Why Is It Called A Halfway House?

Halfway House are called “halfway houses” due to their being halfway between completely independent living and in-patient or correctional facilities, where residents are highly restricted in their behavior and freedoms. The term has been used in the United States since the Temperance Movement of the 1840s.

  1. What Is The Point Of A Halfway House?

Halfway house, also called residential treatment center, is used to refer to community-based facilities that have been set up to provide access to community resources and offer transitional opportunities for individuals who are attempting to return to society as healthy, law-abiding, and productive members.

  1. What Are The Primary Focus Of Halfway Houses?

The primary focus of halfway houses is to help reformed convicts gain self-sufficiency and to treat those with mental disorders.

  1. Can You Leave A Halfway House?

Sure, you can and as a matter of fact, inmates may leave the halfway house for reasons that include: Recreation Pass: Each day, rules will permit an inmate to leave the halfway house for one hour of recreation.

  1. How Does A Halfway House Work?

In halfway houses, residences are less restrictive than treatment programs—residents can attend school, go to work, and enjoy social functions—they do require participation in 12 step meetings, ongoing counseling, and a contribution to making the home environment clean and inviting for everyone.

  1. How To Become Halfway House Provider?
  • Determine the Target Population.
  • Seek and Acquire Funding.
  • Obtain Community Support.
  • Find a Halfway House Facility.
  • Purchase Supplies and Inventory.
  • Establish Rules and Guidelines.
  • Teach Life Skills.
  1. How Successful Are Halfway Houses?

Halfway houses had only moderate success in controlling recidivism for property offenders, those with no history of alcohol/drug abuse, and those considered to be fair to good risks. Halfway houses were notably ineffective in reducing the recidivism of those with drug abuse histories and stable employment.

  1. What Is The Difference Between A Halfway House And An Oxford House?

A halfway house allows for stays of a specific program duration. Oxford Houses allow residents to stay for as long as they like. The average stay is for about one year, but there is no rule that requires someone to leave. The right living environment will depend on an individual’s needs and goals.

  1. Are Halfway Houses Good For The Criminal Justice System?

Halfway houses are an important element of the criminal justice system and serve as a method of slowly adjusting prisoners back into normal life. In the past, they simply acted as a transitional stage in the final six months of a prisoner’s sentence.

  1. What Is The Difference Between A Sober House And A Halfway House?

Sober living homes are group homes that are free of alcohol and drugs for individuals in recovery. They operate like a co-op, where you pay the costs and maintain the home by contributing to the upkeep of the house through rent and chores. While the primary focus of halfway houses is to help reformed convicts gain self-sufficiency and to treat those with mental disorders.

  1. What Is The Philippine Japan Halfway House?

The Philippines-Japan Halfway House aims at providing residential facilities for released and pre-released prisoners. The occupants receive home life and group living experience. They acquire vocational and economic skills and are subsequently placed in jobs.

  1. What Does Eudaimonia Recovery Homes Offer?

Eudaimonia Recovery Homes are gender-specific and cater to the unique needs of individuals in recovery. They help residents establish stable and sober lives that support lasting sobriety by offering employment assistance, volunteer placement, and educational planning services.

  1. What Are The Different Types Of Halfway House?
  • Sober or dry houses.
  • Sober living homes.
  • Sober living environments.
  • Recovery residences.
  • Transitional living environments.
  • Community-based residential facilities.
  • Residential re-entry centers.
  • Community release centers.
  1. How Does A Recovery House Work?

Recovery houses provide residents with a living environment that is free from drugs and alcohol. They do not provide any form of treatment or medication management, but residents are usually expected to participate in outpatient therapy at a local agency.

  1. Who Is A Peer Recovery Support Specialist?

Peer Recovery Support Specialists are individuals who are in recovery from substance use or co-occurring mental health disorders. Their life experiences and recovery allow them to provide recovery support in such way that others can benefit from their experiences.

  1. What Are The Typical Rules When Living In A Halfway House?

You must stay sober. Drug and alcohol use is not allowed, and you’re subject to random drug testing. You must contribute to the house by doing chores. No fighting or violence toward other residents.

  1. How Much Does It Cost?

Prices vary for staying in halfway houses, but most of the time it costs about the same as it would cost to live in a modest apartment or home. Sober living residents must pay rent each month. The rent usually amounts to between $450 and $750 per month, depending on where the home is located.

  1. What Is The Impact Of Halfway Houses On Neighborhoods?

A new study exploring what happens to District neighborhoods with halfway houses for ex-convicts and criminal suspects has concluded that they are not automatic magnets for high crime and low property values.

  1. What Do Prisoners Need When Released?

When a person leaves prison, their most immediate needs will be for transportation, food, and clothing; they must have a means for getting to their release location, civilian clothes to wear on their journey home, and food to sustain them as they navigate the first few hours on the outside.

  1. What Happens If You Walk Away From A Halfway House?

If you run away from a halfway house, this is regarded as an “escape” that could carry the same felony charges as breaking out of prison. Under federal statutes, the convictions for an escape charge can be anywhere between two to five years. However, the length of the sentence can change according to the case.

  1. How Do Inmates Get Home After Being Released?

After leaving prison, most inmates do not go directly home but instead go to a transitional facility known as a halfway house.

  1. What Is A 3/4 House?

A 3/4 house is a transitional living center that is very similar to a halfway house. Both are sober living homes designed to help you transition back into the rigors of your life. However, the environment of a 3/4 house is considerably less structured and rigorously controlled than a halfway home.

  1. How Many Halfway Houses Are There In The US?

There are now about 400 halfway houses around the country, serving an estimated 10,000 offenders.

  1. Are Halfway Houses Safe?

Halfway houses are absolutely safe options. Unfortunately, halfway homes have been stigmatized by some people due to the populations they serve, but this is an unfounded idea. Halfway houses employ professional staff to ensure that its residents are safe and staying on track.

  1. What Is A Sober Shelter?

Sober living houses (SLHs), also called sober homes and sober living environments, are facilities that provide safe housing and supportive, structured living conditions for people exiting drug rehabilitation programs. SLHs serve as a transitional environment between such programs and mainstream society.

  1. What Benefits Do Prisoners Get When Released?

An individual released from incarceration may be eligible for Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits if they have worked or paid into Social Security enough years.

  1. What Is The Standard Cut Off Level For Drug Tests?

In the case of urine analysis, drug testing cutoff levels are measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). For example, an initial screening for marijuana must show at least 50 ng/ml, and then confirmatory tests must prove at least 15 ng/ml.

  1. What Rules Does The Sober Living Home Enforce?

Zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use, possession, or distribution. Physical and verbal confrontations or threatening behavior is prohibited. No weapons of any type are permitted on the premises.

  1. Do Sober Living Homes Need To Be Licensed?

You don’t need a license or certification to open a sober living house. Sober living homes typically aren’t expensive, so that residents have a chance to get on their financial feet. Individuals in recovery may make reliable sober-living home operators as long as they maintain their programs of recovery.

  1. What Happens To Your Possessions When You Go To Jail?

The arresting agency comes to take custody of your personal property for safe keeping. They hold it until you get out and can arrange for it to be delivered to a safe place. Your mortgage or rent is paid by the state while you are in prison. That way you don’t lose your home.

  1. Do You Have To Pass A Drug Test To Get Into An Oxford House?

Some houses have started to rely upon drug testing to determine if a resident has relapsed. It is not a good idea to use drug testing as a matter of routine because Oxford House is not an institution. They expect testing as part of the criminal justice system but not as part of an Oxford House.

  1. What Do Prisoners Get When Released?

It depends, but if you are leaving a California state prison and you are (1) paroled, (2) placed on post-release community supervision (PRCS), or (3) discharged from a CDCR institution or reentry facility, you are entitled to $200 in state funds upon release. These funds are known as “gate money” or “release allowance.”

  1. How Do Recovery Houses Work?

Recovery houses provide residents with a living environment that is free from drugs and alcohol. They do not provide any form of treatment or medication management, but residents are usually expected to participate in outpatient therapy at a local agency.