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What is a Halfway House?

Do We Need Halfway Houses?

How successful are they?

Halfway houses are an important necessity in our society, although there is a negative connotation with them. Maybe the assumption that they house criminals makes them seem like a bad thing to live next to or have in your community. The truth is just the opposite. Let's look at our criminal justice system, which punishes people rather than allows for rehabilitation and recovery. People deserve second chances and are capable of changing their lives. Halfway Houses provide this essential opportunity to those re-entering society, whereas our jails and prisons are known for mass incarceration due to government laws that have always had inequities due to being created by humans who do not see things objectively.

Halfway Houses not only provide a solution for housing those being released from institutions but also make lucrative businesses for their owners and operators. If you own real estate, halfway homes are a solid and wise investment.

There will always be a need for them as long as our justice system continues to exist. As an owner and/or operator, you can make a difference in the lives of your residents. By providing the tools, resources and referrals, people who have made mistakes can learn to have a new, purposeful life and integrate back into our communities in a safe environment.

Why Do Halfway Houses have a negative Reputation?

Halfway houses are thought of as the method for controlling the recidivism rate (the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend). The term started being used in the 1960s for a home that was the next place for people who had served a significant amount of time in prison to go to after their term was served. The old halfway houses had jail bars and many rules, including curfews and sign-out sheets to keep track of the residents' whereabouts. They used the house to implement rules to control people's behaviors still and limit their newly found freedom. Unfortunately, the method of operating a halfway house as a less intrusive level of imprisonment failed to help the residents, and the recidivism rates did not decrease with these homes and the strict rules.

The government originally ran these strict halfway houses to reduce the recidivism rate and integrate residents back into society. Those with a previous history of drug abuse were not getting the help they required for reintegration without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Real Estate Investors saw these government-run operations as a profitable opportunity, just as we have seen the privatization of jails and prisons more recently. As investors began privatizing them, their concerns about their effectiveness and accountability rose.

Most people think a halfway house is only for bad people coming out of jails and prisons. Halfway Houses serve as society’s tool to help people integrate back into society and move to the next step of their lives. There is a need for halfway houses in every community in America, whether or not they serve as part of the criminal justice system. In fact, tens of thousands of people spend time in halfway houses yearly. The government allocates thousands and thousands of dollars to state correction departments and probation/parole offices at both the state and federal levels for this type of housing. Non-profits and private companies are given these funds to run the typical halfway house for those previously incarcerated.

An Umbrella Term for Shared Housing

Halfway house is an umbrella term for many types of housing. In today’s society, shared living houses are often called halfway houses, although people who have never been in prison live there. There are misleading conceptions and myths about Halfway Houses. Originally, it was meant for those released from prison and re-entering society. They act as a stepping stone for people to integrate back into society. If you were behind bars for a long time, the government would set up these houses to help you assimilate into society. They just figured you didn’t know how to effectively live in your community after serving a long sentence in prison.

Other Names for Halfway Houses

The term can be used for transitional housing, sober living, restitution centers, and aftercare programs. The term “halfway house” holds many negative connotations due to the stereotype of persons who live there. Yet, today, many people choose to live there whether or not they have been incarcerated or treated for addiction.

Halfway Homes helps a variety of people for many different reasons. We all know there has always been a housing crisis in America. Halfway houses can serve as affordable housing for people who can’t afford to rent their own apartments. They can be used as a safe haven for those fighting addiction. Some may not want to live independently and would rather live in a shared living facility like a halfway home. Living amongst others gives a person some accountability and creates a family-like atmosphere. Many persons seek Halfway Houses as they still offer more structure and a larger support system than independent living on your own. A halfway house can provide a safe environment for those who aren’t ready to go back home or don’t have the option to continue their recovery journey.

A person living in a halfway house is afforded the time and opportunity to get back on their feet whether they need to save money, look for a job or reunite with family members. An owner of a halfway house can decide what type of residence they wish to house and how to run it. Some houses are open to the general public with little oversight or management. Then there are the houses on the other spectrum with onsite management with many rules and guidelines for the residents to abide by while living there. Opening a halfway house is not as easy as just buying or renting a home to a single family. There are a lot of considerations to take into place when owning a halfway house.

House Rules in Halfway Houses

Halfway houses are generally a tool for helping people reintegrate and learn to live in society. Due to the nature of the people living in a halfway house, rules need to be set down. The rules can help people regain their feet and hold them accountable.

Some rules in Halfway houses can include any of the following:

  • Curfews

  • Sign-in and Out Sheets

  • No drugs/alcohol allowed

  • Attendance at 12-step meetings

  • Must obtain employment

  • No visitation

Today, the term halfway house has expanded to include many groups of persons who need or want to live under one roof and share the house and sometimes even the bedrooms. The dictionary’s definition of a halfway house states its purpose is to facilitate readjustment to private life. It is a shared housing model for anyone looking for a second chance at life. Every community can help its own citizens by encouraging the existence of more halfway homes. Life can be overwhelming. Why not save money and live a simpler life at a Halfway House? Better yet, if you are a property owner, why not consider opening a halfway house for your rental?

Funding for Halfway Houses

Are you ready to open up a halfway home? We can provide step-by-step instructions and coach you through the entire process. Whether a non-profit or private venture, a halfway house can help ex-cons have a second chance at life. There is also funding for many halfway houses through the probation and parole departments. Usually, when someone comes out of the criminal justice system, they are broke or only have $200.00 “gate money” after serving their term. As such, the funding is for felons’ housing. You need to know where to look to get paid by the government to house these people who are desperate for a place to live.

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