Skip to Content

Do You Need a License to Open a Halfway House?

A good number of States do not require halfway houses to be licensed, but make sure you understand the inspections and permits you will need prior to opening the halfway house.

A halfway house also referred to as a sober living house, is a residential community primarily meant for those who have gone through medical detox or completed a treatment program. These houses tend to serve as the next step in their recovery.

These individuals are considered to be unready to live on their own; as such, the halfway house provides them with the requisite support they require to regain their self-esteem, retain their sobriety, and obtain the support they need to restart their lives.

Depending on the location of your halfway house as well as the sort of clients you intend to serve, you may have to apply for specific licenses or permits.

In certain instances, you and your staff might be mandated to complete formal training. In addition, depending on the sort of house you operate, you might be asked to make provision for counseling on-site.

Legal Requirements for Opening a Halfway House

  1. Operation License

Regardless of it you intend to run your halfway home as a profit organization or a community service, you might be expected to obtain a license from your state Department of Community Health.

Keep in mind that halfway houses tend to contend with some of the most unfair stigmatization in society, and not every community is open or willing to accept their establishments owing to the sort of people hosted in them.

Nevertheless, with the right operation license, you won’t have to deal with lawsuits that can negatively impact your business operations.

  1. Home Safety Requirements

It is important to ensure that your home meets the requisite safety standards. Also, keep in mind that the law expects you to ensure that your residents are safe. Ensure that your home is up to standard for your residents by making sure that:

  • Every cracking wall, floor, or leaking roof is appropriately renovated
  • You stay in line with best housekeeping practices that work to deter the presence of pests such as fleas, bedbugs, and lice. Your resident rooms will also need to be appropriately ventilated and clean all the time.
  • Every garbage is steadily collected and disposed of properly to guarantee the home is free from pests and repugnant smells.
  • If you intend to cater to people with a physical disability, ensure to work with experts to install wheelchair ramps in designated places to ease their movement.
  • Make sure the operational telephone system is well-placed at an accessible location to ensure that residents can call immediately in case of an emergency
  • Put in place a substance use disorder case management program to analyze, monitor, and plan substance abuse treatments for your residents
  • You also put in place appropriate detoxification treatment programs for residents with relapse problems.
  • Your halfway house should have adequate space for the number of people you intend to accommodate. A three-bedroom house is most often considered ideal if you plan to host a single family of about six people. Nevertheless, you will want to consider a duplex house if you intend to handle about 12 people.
  • You should also put in place appropriate safety measures, such as the installation of functional fire extinguishers at easy-to-reach locations to aid in case of a fire outbreak.
  • Your staff are adequately trained and eligible to cater to the residents.
  1. Insurance

Ensure to obtain comprehensive insurance to cover your home and its contents as well as additional liability coverage to shield your property from things like damage, lawsuits, or injury.

Nonetheless, prior to purchasing insurance coverage, take your time to carry out extensive research to find out whether the insurer is licensed, provides services that align with your needs, and boasts of the financial capability to safeguard your property.

  1. Operation Rules

It is recommended that you draft a list of rules that will help to improve the recovery process of your residents. These rules will have to restrain the use of any non-prescribed drugs or alcohol.

You also have to enforce laws that make it mandatory for every resident to take his/her medication as stipulated by the doctor and participate in recovery programs to boost their healing.

In addition, provide every resident with a list of vital neighborhood rules and work to ensure that everyone adheres to them.

  1. Zoning Regulations

Prior to opening your halfway house, it is recommended that you first reach out to the City Planning Commission to understand whether a halfway house operation is permitted in the area or not.

If you can find other halfway houses in the location you have identified, then that is a good sign because it proves that it is allowed, and all you have to do is obtain your zoning license and start working. Nevertheless, you will be expected to do the following:

  • Fence your halfway house appropriately to ensure that your residents are safe as stipulated by the local unit of government.
  • Be certain that your home stays in line with every applicable neighborhood policy, such as noise regulation and zero drug abuse.
  • Ensure to make available adequate parking for both residents and employees who own cars.
  • Conform with the number of sizes and stories permitted in the area. Ensure to contact your architect to guarantee that your property is in line with building codes and zoning ordinances.