top of page

Recovery Residence vs. Halfway House: What You Need to Know

The term ‘halfway house’ has come to mean different things in different parts of the country. For instance in Pennsylvania, a halfway house is a structured residential treatment center, whereas in Florida it might be a transitional residence following treatment.


Additionally, the term halfway house tends to be associated with some stigma – there has been much in the news about ill reputed operations and overdoses at halfway houses. The language used to describe the residential milieu is misleading, confusing, and can have negative connotations.

The good news is the industry has evolved to become far more professional and intentional in its language, primarily through the efforts of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). What was once known as a halfway house, three-quarter house, transitional house or sober living home now falls under the heading of recovery residence.

NARR has emerged as the unifying entity long needed in a field that lacked professionalization and standards for residential programs. NARR introduced nomenclature to more precisely identify and define what a particular residence does and offers, as well as a standard and certification process.

The living environment can be any type of dwelling, but most commonly is a single family residence with shared bedrooms. Purpose House is a certified Level 2 provider. This setting proves to be the most affordable; length of stay varies and is open-ended. At Level 2 some degree of ‘programming’ is offered in-house and often in collaboration with outside service providers such as outpatient programs. Support groups may be offered in-house.

The approach for the level 2 residence can best be summarized as a community-based model. This level is appropriate for the individual with some intrinsic motivation who would benefit from a nominal level of structure and support. The model is desirable in that it allows for an increased ability to access services over a longer period of time due to the affordability of the service models.

bottom of page