What is a Halfway House?

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After completing drug and alcohol treatment, returning to familiar environments associated with stressors may hinder the recovery process. Transitional or halfway houses play a vital role in streamlining the transition from treatment to independent living and can provide valuable support for ongoing recovery.

In this brief guide, you will discover:

  • How to define halfway house?
  • What is halfway house designed for?
  • How does a halfway house work?
  • How to access a halfway house for alcoholics or drug addicts in Ohio.

What is The Purpose of a Halfway House?

What are halfway houses, then? A halfway house is a residential setting designed to assist individuals in their transition from drug or alcohol rehabilitation, mental health treatment, or incarceration. This step is especially beneficial for those recently discharged from addiction treatment, as returning to familiar environments, interacting with friends and family, can introduce stressors that impede the recovery process. By moving into a halfway house, individuals can create a buffer zone away from these triggers, fostering a conducive environment for recovery.

While there is no fixed halfway house definition, most halfway houses aim to offer a substance-free, secure, healthy, and supportive, family-like atmosphere to aid people in their recovery journey. While the specific structure of each residence may vary, they share a common emphasis on peer support and facilitating access to additional services that contribute to sustained, long-term recovery.

What to Expect at a Halfways House

Entering a halfway house is a significant step in the recovery journey. Here’s what you can typically expect when you move into a halfway house:

  • Structured living: Halfway houses provide a structured living environment. You’ll follow a daily routine that may include group meetings, therapy sessions, chores, and curfew times. This structure helps residents build healthy habits.
  • Peer support: You will be surrounded by peers who are also in various stages of recovery. Peer support is a fundamental aspect of halfway house living, as residents encourage and motivate each other.
  • Random drug testing: Many halfway houses conduct random drug tests to ensure a substance-free environment. This helps residents maintain their commitment to sobriety.
  • Accountability: Residents are typically held accountable for their actions and adherence to house rules. Failure to comply with the rules may result in consequences, such as temporary expulsion.
  • Access to services: Halfway houses often provide access to additional services like counseling, job placement assistance, life skills training, and educational resources to help residents reintegrate into society successfully.
  • Duration: The length of stay in a halfway house can vary, but it typically ranges from a few months to a year, depending on individual needs and progress.
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Halfway House Rules

Halfway houses have specific rules and guidelines designed to create a supportive and safe environment for residents. While rules may vary from one facility to another, common rules include:


Residents are required to maintain sobriety and abstain from drug and alcohol use during their stay.


A curfew is typically enforced to ensure residents are accountable for their whereabouts and maintain structure in their daily lives.


Residents are often required to actively participate in house meetings, therapy sessions, and counseling as part of their recovery journey.


Shared responsibilities, such as house chores and maintenance, are assigned to residents to encourage cooperation and personal responsibility.


Mutual respect among residents and staff is paramount. Disruptive or disrespectful behavior may result in consequences.


Halfway houses may have specific visitation policies to maintain a focused and safe environment.


What is the meaning of halfway house?

A halfway house is a temporary living facility for individuals who are transitioning out of correctional institutions or rehabilitation programs. It provides a structured and supportive environment to help them reintegrate into society and maintain their sobriety or make a successful and more streamlined transition.

How do you get into a halfway house?

To get into a halfway house, individuals typically need to meet certain criteria, such as being referred by a parole officer, a court order, or counselor. Admission requirements vary depending on the facility and its specific programs, but they often include a commitment to follow house rules, maintain sobriety, and actively participate in rehabilitation or reintegration programs.

Can you have a cellphone in a halfway house?

The rules regarding cellphones in halfway houses can vary from one facility to another. Some halfway houses may allow residents to have cellphones with certain restrictions, such as limited usage hours or no access to the internet. Others may prohibit cellphones altogether to prevent potential issues like drug deals or maintaining unhealthy relationships. Residents are usually informed about the cellphone policy upon admission.

Who Pays for a Halfway House?

The funding for halfway houses can come from various sources, including:

  • Private payment: Individuals or their families may cover the cost of residing in a halfway house. Some insurance plans may also provide partial coverage.
  • Government assistance: In some cases, government programs or agencies may subsidize the cost of halfway house living, making it more accessible to those with limited financial resources.
  • Nonprofit organizations: Some nonprofit organizations and charities operate halfway houses and offer reduced or no-cost options for those in need.
  • Grants and donations: Halfway houses may receive funding through grants and donations from community organizations, philanthropic individuals, or businesses.

The specific funding source can vary by location and individual circumstances. Inquire about payment options when considering a halfway house to determine the best financial arrangement for your situation.

A woman sits looking out at a sunset to represent how a halfway house works in treatment in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Get Treatment for Drug & Alcohol Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you or someone that you love requires assistance moving from active addiction into ongoing recovery, we can help you with that at Ohio Recovery Centers. We treat all types of addictions and mental health conditions in an outpatient setting.

Choose from these programs at our rehab in Cincinnati, Ohio:

All Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs promote sober living through a personalized blend of MAT (medication-assisted treatment), psychotherapy, counseling, and holistic therapies, in addition to a comprehensive aftercare component.

Call 877-679-2132 today for immediate assistance.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn