On many occasions, our clients will benefit from living arrangements that minimize exposure to the people, places and things that may trigger a relapse into addiction. Livengrin provides our clients with a very strong foundation for recovery through our inpatient treatment programs. We offer a safe and protected environment during the first few weeks of this type of treatment. But what about beyond those first 28 days? Often we suggest an intensive outpatient program or a more lenient general outpatient therapy coupled with a 12 step recovery program. Sometimes the living arrangements someone is returning to pose a threat to young sobriety or the client has less than favorable relationships within his or her support network. That is when we may suggest a halfway house or recovery house be considered.
What is the Difference Between a Halfway House vs. a Recovery House?
Great question! The purpose of this post is to help you answer that question.
Halfway Houses Are Recognized as Treatment Facilities
All facilities that provide drug and alcohol programs in the state of Pennsylvania need to be licensed by the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol programs. In our area, there are only two Halfway Houses in Bucks County and one organization in Philadelphia that are licensed as Inpatient Non-Hospital Drug-Free facilities.
Different from rehabilitation services which treat clients for the initial 2-4 weeks, halfway houses are not covered by most commercial insurance policies but may be covered through public funded systems (State/County funding and Medicaid). The average length of stay is often 3-6 months but each case is handled individually. These facilities are regulated by the state, are inspected annually & audited to maintain the certificate of licensure. Therefore the level of care, safety, employee training, sanitary conditions and a code of ethics mandated by the state must be adhered to. That is good news for the clients and obviously improves the success rate for those being treated.
These facilities require residents to attend 12 step meetings regularly, abide by house rules such as curfew, personal hygiene, a code of ethics and participate in group and 1on1 therapy sessions. If the residents are able to work, they are encouraged to find jobs. Individual rehabilitation plans are developed during the first week in the house and administered by counselors on staff. Rehabilitation and re-entry into the community is the goal and locally success rates are good.
Recovery Houses Are Privately Owned
Recovery homes in Pennsylvania lack any licensure through third party oversight and standardization group. “In PA, zoning regulations vary by municipality. Typically however, a recovery house must be zoned as a “group living home” and should meet local fire and safety codes.” There are over 120 recovery houses in Bucks County and they have become a lucrative business for the home owners. The owners charge a weekly fee for the residents to live in the home with rates averaging $150.00 – $200.00 per week. These costs are not covered by health insurance policies and VERY little public assistance is made available at the county level. These homes serve a very important role in the recovery process by attempting to provide a safe and sober environment for those in need. Not all recovery houses are equal and therefore Livengrin requires an onsite overview of the recovery house before we can refer clients to the facility.
Guidelines For Recovery House Referrals
1) Must be Clean
3) Conducive to Recovery
4) Supports the Treatment Process
5) Charges fair and reasonable prices
Due to the lack of a state run regulations, we have organized our own committee that is charged with inspections and oversight. We keep our list of approved homes tight so that we can manage our resources while balancing the demand for referrals. We have discovered that competition for referrals from Bucks County rehabs has encouraged recovery house owners to step up their own standards. Everyone benefits when a recovering alcoholic or drug addict can safely return to homes and become an asset to their community.
Sober Homes Are A Step Beyond
Just beyond the initial treatment period of 3-6 months, some people now on the road to recovery decide their sobriety would benefit from surrounding themselves with others in recovery. They may choose to move onto a Sober House. These living arrangements are less restrictive and often rules are established by the tenants living in the house. The landlord of the property establishes the monthly rental fees and sets limitations on the number of occupants for each property. The group often works together to support each other.
We hope that we have been able to help you distinguish between Halfway Houses, Recovery Houses and Sober Houses. As a larger percentage of our community becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol, there is a greater need for us to extend the recovery network. Please share your experiences in the comments below.