Halfway houses play an important role in the United States as they provide a conducive environment to help those recovering from drug, domestic violence or those preparing to reintegrate back into society after imprisonment.
However, there are requirements to be met by everyone willing to operate a halfway home in the country.
The rules are aimed at protecting the residents from abuse or negligence by operators, protect the neighboring community from unnecessary inconveniences, and ensure that the home is established in compliance with all applicable laws.
These regulations vary from state to state. If you are planning to open a halfway house in Michigan, you will need to meet the following requirements:
Whether you want to run your halfway home as a profit organization or a community service, you will be required to get a license from the Michigan Department of Community health before the establishment.
Remember, halfway houses suffer from some of the most unfair stigmatization in society, and not every community is receptive to their establishments because of the type of people hosted in them.
However, having your operation license will save you from potential lawsuits that can undermine your business operations. If you have the capacity and wish to run more homes, you are required to have a license for each home.
Licensing will also improve the confidence of residents in your home. Ideally, no family would be willing to register their loved one in an unlawful home.
Home Safety Requirements
Most people will come or register their loved ones in sober living homes because they believe they provide a conducive environment to enhance their recovery. So, make sure your home satisfies the need. The law requires you to ensure your residents are safe from any risk, be it from infections or injury. Ensure your home is up to standard for your residents by making sure that:
- All cracking walls, floors, or leaking roofs must be renovated before you open the home.
- You keep up with best housekeeping practices preventing the presence of pests such as fleas, bedbugs, and lice. Your resident rooms should be well ventilated and clean all the time.
- All garbage is regularly collected and disposed of properly to keep the home safe from any uncomfortable smell.
- If you are handling people with a physical disability, the home structure caters to their needs. Invite experts to install wheelchair ramps in designated places to ease their movement.
- The operational telephone system is well-placed at a noticeable location to allow residents to call immediately in case of an emergency like a fire outbreak or immediate need for health service.
- You have a substance use disorder case management program to evaluate, monitor, and plan substance abuse treatments for your residents that depend on such treatments to improve their recovery.
- You have proper detoxification treatment programs for residents with relapse problems.
- There is enough space for the number of people you are planning to accommodate. A three-bedroom house is always preferable if you are hosting a single family of about six people. However, you can consider a duplex house if you are planning to handle about 12 people.
- There is the implementation of appropriate safety measures, including the installation of functional fire extinguishers at accessible locations to help in case of a fire outbreak. Create and show all emergency exits residents can use to escape in such situations.
- Your staff is qualified to serve the residents. Halfway house workers must be of sound mind and have successfully pursued and finished formal training as recommended by the law.
Get an Insurance Cover
Halfway houses that handle people recovering from substance abuse and other mental illnesses are at higher risk of damage as these people are capable of engaging in activities that can cause fire outbreaks or injury if they are not properly monitored and managed. So, buying insurance to cover your home and its contents and additional liability coverage to protect your property in case of damage, lawsuits, or injury is essential. However, before you buy the insurance cover, do your research properly to find out whether the insurer is licensed, provides services that suit your needs, and has the financial capability to protect your property.
Make a list of rules aimed at improving the recovery process of your residents and make them known to them. The rules must prohibit any use of non-prescribed drugs or alcohol to avoid possible health risks and enhance the recovery process among victims. Make it mandatory for every resident to take his/her medication as prescribed by the doctor and participate in recovery programs to improve their healing. Furthermore, provide every resident with a list of good neighborhood rules and make it mandatory for everyone to comply with them to avoid any complaints that can negatively affect your operation.
Before you start a home in a particular location, first consult the City Planning Commission to find out whether a halfway house operation is permitted in the area or not. If there are other halfway houses operating in the area you have identified, then that is a good sign that it is allowed, and all you need is to get your zoning license to start working. However, you will be required to do the following:
- Fence your home properly to keep your residents safe as recommended by the local unit of government.
- Ensure your home comply with all the applicable neighborhood policies, including noise regulation and zero drug abuse.
- Provide enough parking for both residents and employees who own cars.
- Comply with the number of sizes and the stories allowed in the area. Always consult your architect to ensure that your property complies with all the building codes and zoning ordinances.
Get help to start your halfway house today!
Do you need help starting a halfway home in Michigan? We know the ins and outs of establishing halfway houses, and we can guide you through this unique real estate investment. Reach out to us for the best strategic plan to get you started.