A Brief History of How Half Way Houses Came Into Existence

While you may have heard the term “half way house” in a variety of places, you probably don’t know the history of where they came from. Although it is definitely associated with chemical dependency recovery in modern times, the original term is less specific. A brief history of how half way houses came into existence shows that the original term, obviously, described a stopping place for travelers, usually halfway between two specific points. One particular example was established in the 1800’s for people traveling to and from Chicago. Built in Illinois in 1843 it was considered a popular stopping point for many weary travelers. The origin of the term “half way house” is thought to have come from England in the 1800’s. Now, of course, the term for these kinds of facilities is “motel” or “motor inn” or simply “inn.”

As the drug treatment industry began to grow, the term “half way house” became less known because it was indeed replaced by the colloquial “motel,” among others, so they adopted it to describe a place where people in treatment can go as they complete their formal recovery process. While no one is required to stay in half way houses, the understanding of the term obviously came into casual use because this practice quickly became widely accepted. In the earliest times, half way houses were usually in areas where crime and drug use was high. Perhaps this is because this is where the property is low and therefore the least expensive place to open a service center. Because this form of therapy has become more popular, though, you can now find them in many different kinds of neighborhoods.

Looking at a brief history of half way houses, you should also note that it is a term that commonly describes a place where parolees can go as they rehabilitate back into the law-abiding world. Incarceration can be rough on a person’s psychology, but it can also affect their social status, which makes it hard to find work. Registering with and living in a halfway house can help an ex-convict improve their status and deal with the transition. This is because half way houses were designed to incorporate therapy and counseling as well as social and job training skills with residency. Staffers can help parolees find jobs by supplying letters of recommendation or by directly speaking with employers to tell them about the positive progress this potential employee has made.

No matter how you look at the history, half way houses and sober living arrangements are a common staple in society today. While there is much dispute over the differences of halfway houses and sober living houses, their basic goal is always the same and that is to help people who want to change and improve their lives by abstaining from drug and alcohol use. They are open to nearly everyone of any background and have been helping people successfully recover from addiction for decades.