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There are over 14,000 treatment centers in the United States today. Florida is the hotbed of addiction recovery facilities, with hundreds of centers and sober houses in Delray Beach alone. But the sad truth is many of these facilities are not accredited and practice unlawful methods of attracting clients. Florida government has assembled a Sober Home Task Force to watch and close sober homes who break the law. One area of interest is halfway houses and free rent.

Halfway Houses and Free Rent

A significant part of Florida’s Rehab commerce comes from out-of-state clients. Because these clients are struggling with addictive behaviors, many do not have jobs or the means to pay for treatment and housing. Some rehab centers and halfway houses accept referrals between agencies, with addiction rehab centers often paying for clients to stay in the halfway home after completing inpatient treatment.

This is done because clients cannot be treated without a local address. While this seems harmless, the problem is these agencies broker for clients, and funding from rehabs. The halfway houses use free rent to entice clients to leave one home to enjoy better perks at another. These perks are often bigger and better televisions, free cigarettes, clothing, massages, chiropractic services, and other things. These are external luxuries but do not add to one’s recovery. Sometimes, these perks increase other addictions.

What the Halfway Houses and Free Rent Brokering Does Not Offer

What is missing from these perks is better addiction recovery services. Many of the halfway houses (AKA: sober homes) do not focus on increasing a client’s sobriety and recovery. In fact, the rules are so lax, that many people relapse and return to rehab only to repeat the cycle. This has become a money-making scheme instead of a recovery focused mission.

The welfare of the client has been lost in the greed found in the rehab industry. What is troubling is that clients are attracted to these halfway houses because they are still recovering from addictive thinking and are highly impressionable. Comfort after a hard detox is enticing. And free rent for those without income means a warm bed instead of homelessness. So, they return to the cycle of detox-rehab-relapse found between these shady sober homes and rehab centers.

Troubled by the relapse rate, the Florida government assembled a Sober Homes Task Force to shut down these practices and protect the vulnerable victims of the halfway houses and free rent offerings. Sober home operators who break the law have been arrested in the area. The Sober Home Task Force is also considering the law surrounding halfway house operation.

Laws Surrounding Halfway House Operations

Currently halfway houses and sober homes are not regulated by the government except in cases of patient brokering, known as head hunting. Recovery homes and the services provided by the homes are not monitored. The Sober Home Task Force recommends that this change and all halfway homes be monitored by Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). The AHCA monitors and certifies Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or Adult Family Care Home (AFC). Some argue since many sober homes also oversee medications for the clients that the homes fall into the ALF category and should be monitored as such. While this makes sense, the issue becomes funding.

What about Homeless Addicts who need Housing while in Treatment?

The Sober Home Task Force is looking into allowing a short term rent program for recovering addicts seeking housing after completing a rehab program. Even if every questionable sober home operator is closed down it doesn’t solve the problem that created the market the beginning, where does an addict go after leaving treatment with no money? One proposal is to allow treatment centers to offer rent assistance for 90 days to FARR accredited halfway houses only. This would allow addicts to find housing while they get back on their feet, and help remove the need for questionable house houses.

DCF and Funding of Halfway Houses Certification

The new law § 397.407(11), Fla. Stat. (2016) allows for referral of clients to recovery residencies if they are regulated. It also implies the regulation of these halfway houses when providing intensive outpatient treatment or higher services. This regulation is to be performed by a credentialing agency approved by the DCF.

Per this new law, the credentialing agency approved by DCF, will license both the treatment and housing components of recovery residencies. While agreed that regulation of halfway houses need to be implemented for the safety of a vulnerable population, the DCF does not have funding for such an undertaking. Implementing an exemption program may ease some of that burden.

Exemption Program for Managing Entities

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and day/night programs can use community housing if credentialed. Managing entities may be credentialed and manage several halfway houses. The following rules are provided for managing entities:

  • “Out Patient (OP) programs are not eligible for housing overlay.
  • Clarify that no out-patient program may provide rent subsidy, or other benefit to induce a patient to choose that program, unless licensed as D/N or IOP with housing overlay component.
  • DCF to develop standards, similar to National Alliance of Recovery Residences (NARR) standards, which must be established prior to issuing a license that, includes a housing overlay.
  • Mandatory certification or accreditation of the residential component for Day/Night and IOP with community housing overlay. Allow for an exemption for those residences under contract with a Managing Entity.
  • Requiring licensure of this treatment component and certification of these overlay residences regulates commerce, is for the benefit of patients in treatment, and is not in violation of the ADA or FHA.
  • To avoid the “institutionalization” of patients in recovery, restrict the licensure category for IOP with housing overlay from providing free housing to a patient beyond 90 days within one calendar year.”

Along with these rules, the Sober Home Task Force promotes a change in language for the regulation of halfway houses; that certification is a privilege and not a right. Halfway houses and residential facilities must meet standards to receive certification.

Who’s Who of Rehab Centers and Halfway Houses

It’s difficult to know which rehab centers and halfway houses are abiding the law. These new laws governing recovery residencies will take time and resources to start. Resources that are not yet available. But concerned clients can find quality addiction treatment by checking for other types of accreditation. Some rehab centers have sought and gained national accreditation from the Joint Commission of Behavioral Health Care. This accreditation, depicted by a golden seal of approval, allows those recovery centers to be included in the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities.

Northlake Recovery in Delray Beach has The Golden Seal of Approval

Northlake Recovery is one of only 17 recovery centers included in the 2016 National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities in Delray Beach. We maintain a high standard of excellence for detox, rehab, and residential treatment facilities and proudly displays the Golden Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission.

Northlake Recovery does not take part in patient brokering practices. While Northlake Recovery provides a state-of-the-art facility with chiropractic care, massages, and other benefits available, clients are not brokered. Each client is respected and cared for with integrity and anonymity.

Looking for Affordable Addiction Treatment in a Luxury Setting?

Addiction treatment can be physically and mentally challenging. Don’t be subjected to the halfway houses and offering of free rent in South Florida. Get the quality care you need in a luxury setting at Northlake Recovery. Addiction specialists can help you enroll in the right plan for you. Call (561)-770-6616 today.

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