Are Halfway Houses Safe?

Are Halfway Houses Safe?

Choosing a place to live can be a daunting task, especially since there are so many options. There are many factors to consider, from lifestyle to cost. One very important factor to consider when selecting housing is safety.

Halfway Houses and Safety

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.  They have a commitment to safety for all of its residents, regardless of why they may be residing there.
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A halfway house can be the safest choice one can make, as it is a drug and alcohol-free environment design to support its residents. The entire premise of a halfway house is to help people safety transition from intensive, inpatient treatment to outpatient programs and reemerging into society. Halfway houses can protect residents from temptations or poor choices.

In Pennsylvania, halfway houses must be licensed. Additionally, Pennsylvania Halfway House facilities that provide drug and alcohol programs are required to be licensed by the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol programs. Halfway houses also need to follow zoning regulations, local fire codes, and local safety codes.

However, there have been some reports about negative behaviors in some locations. People may report exploitation or other concerns. Our state laws and regulations are focused on preventing such concerns. In 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation to regulate recovery homes. This law is designed to protect people in long-term recovery from exploitation. The law also requires smoke detectors and background checks for all employees.

Tips for Living in Halfway Houses or Shared Spaces

Although halfway houses are, in majority, safe places to live, there have been some reports of theft or conflict in some facilities. Just like when living in any shared space, you can make choices to protect yourself or your belongings.

Here are some tips for protecting yourself and having a better chance for successful, long-term sobriety:

  • Research the facility online and in person
  • Ask about the facility’s licensure from the state
  • Ask about the drug and alcohol program licensure
  • Do not bring any items of value
  • Do not bring any items that could be used as a weapon
  • Stay focused on your goals while residing in the house
  • Become familiar with the community of the house, both residents and stay
  • Establish a support system by finding a mentor or friend that is just as committed to following the program
  • Become familiar with local public transportation
  • Maintain a routine or daily structure


More information about finding a licensed halfway house in Pennsylvania can be found at this website.

When looking for any housing arrangement, research is a necessary. Consider looking online to read others’ experiences. You can also visit the location before committing to any facility. When looking for housing, the most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable. This is key to any recovery journey. With the correct support system and housing that fits your needs, long-term success is more likely.

Related Resources

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