Selecting a halfway house

Why Choosing The Right Halfway House is So Important

Throughout the country and especially in Delray Beach, there are many halfway houses.  Most of the existing houses unfortunately operate in a substandard manner and leave much to be desired.  Many sober house managers are emotionally unstable individuals or simply incompetent.  Many other homes are run on a money first basis that sacrifices the optimal benefit to the client for the sake of a higher profit margin.  These types of halfway houses are not conducive to recovery and are not compatible with the Delray Therapeutic Model.

There are still halfway houses in Delray that are run well and in the best interest of the individual seeking sobriety.  There are certain common characteristics that these halfway houses share which should be looked for when making your final decision.

Our halfway house is run with honesty, integrity, and lead by a certified medical doctor, Dr. Raul Rodriquez. We make sure to offer a full range of services to each and every client, which is why we define ourself as a dual diagnosis halfway house.

How we run our halfway houses:

  1. All female housing. Sober houses that are gender specific are generally more stable than co-ed homes.  Impulsive relationships and sex can be very disruptive in early recovery and are major causes of relapse.  Sharing living space or even common areas with the opposite sex creates too many opportunities for distraction and recovery jeopardizing behavior.
  2. Small size groups. Smaller halfway houses that are owner operated usually have more a personal touch as compared to the larger houses.  The added individual attention can contribute to the support that is much needed in early recovery.  In a larger halfway house it is easy to get lost in the crowd and become a number.
  3. Specialize in certain disorders. Halfway houses that do “everything” tend to not be very good at anything.  Some houses try to become makeshift treatment centers, only without adequate professional training and qualifications.  These tend to do a poor job of delivering clinical treatment and lose sight of their original mission.  Houses that focus their energy on providing a safe living environment that is conducive to long term recovery tend to do the best job.
  4. Frequent drug testing. Halfway houses that do not drug test or drug test infrequently are usually infested with relapse and pose a major risk to new tenants.  Twice a week drug testing in the standard of care for someone who is early in recovery.  Anyone living in a halfway house is considered to be in early recovery.
  5. Frequent drug testing of our staff. Halfway houses that do not regularly drug test their managers are at very high risk of having a house manager that is actively drinking or using drugs.  Living in a house with a manager that has relapsed is outright dangerous.
  6. Personal references upon request. Personal references are very important when selecting a halfway house.  A prospective sober house should be able to provide both current and former tenants as references.  It is preferable if at least one of the current tenants has been there for longer than 4 months.  If all of their tenants are new then you should be concerned.  Any halfway house that does not let you speak to at least 2 current and 1 former tenant will tend to have something to hide.
  7. Professional references available upon request. Professional references are also important when selecting a halfway house.  Houses that collaborate with local treatment professionals are more likely to maintain acceptable quality standards than isolated houses.  Professionals tend to be more honest and objective with regards to giving a reference.  A house that is unable to provide any professional references should raise concerns.
  8. Touring available. Always take a tour of the halfway house, especially the specific house and room that you would be living in.  You should be concerned if the place is messy and dirty when you visit.  If the accommodations do not look inviting then move on.
  9. Constant communication. The communications from a prospective halfway house should be consistent and reproducible.  A house that tells you one thing one day and something different on another day should raise major concerns.  Detecting dishonesty from the house manager or administrator should be grounds for seeking a different house altogether.
  10. Professional drug testing. Houses that outsource their drug testing to a professional operation and have laboratory confirmed results are strongly preferred over others who do cheaper testing on their own.  The lower grade tests that they do themselves tend to have many false positive and false negative results.  The accountability within a halfway house is primarily based on drug test results so it would reasonable to expect the highest degree of accuracy from the testing process.  The most accurate test results are those that are confirmed at a specialized drug-testing laboratory.  The outsourcing of the drug testing also creates objectivity with the testing, which will greatly reduce the opportunity for any bias for or against any given tenant.  Favoritism and drug test tampering are commonly seen in poorly run operations.  This leads to perpetuation of the inappropriate residence of an active user in the home.  Antagonism and drug test tampering by staff, based on a personal conflict, is also common and results in false accusations of relapse followed by unjustified dismissal from the home. These situations can be avoided when the testing is provided by an independent party.
  11. Affordable price for great services. The least expensive houses tend to be run with less structure or have inferior accommodations.  The better houses with more solid structure and inviting living spaces will cost a little more but are worth the extra expense.  The overhead of a quality house will always be more, which is reflected in the cost.  Do not judge a halfway house on price alone though.  Assess all of the above points before making a final decision based on price.

How to Select a Location for Halfway House Living

Practical considerations will factor into the primary reasons for selecting a location.  Transportation is important, especially considering how most individuals will not have a vehicle when living in a halfway house.  Cities that have an effective mass-transit system, a compact geography, or preferably both will be much easier to get around in.  Having the option to realistically get around on a bicycle is a major plus.  Warm weather settings are much easier to deal with than cold weather settings, especially when trying to commute during the winter months.  Delray Beach, Florida happens to meet all of those criteria, which is one of the reasons why it became the halfway house capital of the world.  Delray has a very compact geography, especially around the downtown area.  Most individuals can get around by just walking or very easily by bicycle.  A bicycle in Delray Beach can get you to many potential locations for employment.  Train, bus and shuttle systems increase your effective range to over 25 miles to the north and over 50 miles to the south.  The warm weather also makes for safer and more comfortable travel, even in January.  Cold weather settings can be very uncomfortable and restricting in the winter.  Poorly centralized towns are not conducive to foot and bicycle travel.  Remote settings often have limited job opportunities.