Transitional Housing Guide (2024)

Transitional housing is a form of housing assistance, and it can be life changing for individuals who have a felony conviction and their families.

There is improved self-esteem of individuals who take residence in this form of housing assistance. Through transitional housing programs, they are able to overcome their situation(s) and regain a sense of purpose for themselves, as well as goals for the future.

Transitional housing is open to various kinds of people and their particular circumstances. Many of those, who ultimately end up using transitional housing, are in a hopeless situation, and through these programs they are given a chance to make more of their situation and lives.

What Is Transitional Housing?

Transitional housing

Transitional housing is a temporary living arrangement for certain populations, and in many cases, those who suffer from homelessness.

Unlike many other words you will come across in life, transitional housing is exactly what it sounds like – a transition. It’s the transitional step between needing emergency shelter and having permanent and affordable housing.

The purpose of transitional housing is to help build a supportive network for individuals by providing them with a safe environment where they can overcome any trauma they have faced, find a job, as well as address any issues that have contributed to their homelessness.

Though still temporary, transitional housing is a more a permanent living situation than that of a homeless shelter.

Since residents of transitional housing stay for a longer time frame, while being support and often educated, they are able to foster growth and (re)build a positive self-image.

Available Transitional Housing Options While Transitional Housing has a specific purpose and one overall goal, there is more than one kind of Transitional Housing option available.

Within the types of transitional housing, there are various programs and resources that are available as well. There are four main homes:

¾ House
Sober Living House
Halfway House
Recovery Home

3/4 House:
these are sober living homes where an individual is helped back into their normal life.

Sober Living Home: homes where residents recover from alcohol and substance abuse.

Halfway House: Variety of homes where residents can recover from multiple issues, such as, substance abuse issues, emotional issues, physical issues, and issues transitioning back to society.

Recover Home/Re-entry Home: Transitional homes where residents can recover from drug addiction, mental illnesses, handicap conditions, and alcoholism.

Transitional Housing vs Homeless Shelter: What Is the Difference?

Transitional Housing IS NOT a Homeless Shelter Transitional Housing and Homeless Shelters have many similar goals and functionalities, but they are not one in the same.

There are key differences between transitional housing and homeless shelters, making the kind of home that is right for an individual and their families, who are going through crises, be dependent on their specific needs and situation. Both homeless shelters and transitional housing assist the homeless population.

They both provide support in helping improve an individuals’ living situation and regaining their footing in society. However, these two types of housing differ in the extent to which they guide, support, and assist.

Homeless shelters are emergency assistance programs that are provided to individuals, women, families, or men. These homes are a temporary place to stay and are not meant to be stayed in long term. Some homeless shelters are only for overnight stays, while others will allow for stays that last as long as a few weeks.

On the other hand, transitional housing is for those who experience specific, time-limited challenges. While a stay at a homeless shelter is usually for one or two nights, transitional housing programs can provide continued assistance for upwards of 90 days depending on the given situation.

In fact, there have been cases where non-profits have provided transitional housing support for up to two years!

It is most common for this to occur when there are a particular set of circumstances, such as, women fleeing domestic violence, veterans, and asylum seekers. You must meet certain requirements to be considered for a continued stay. T

The layout is different depending on the homeless shelter. Homeless shelters often have an open floor plan as well. Sometimes with bunk beds and are usually set up like a dormitory. With far more people, there is very limited privacy, if any privacy at all.

Transitional housing, however, is usually available in the form of apartment facilities. It’s even possible for a family to have their own unit, or there will be separate rooms (or units) for males and females and/or children. This allows for a more comfortable living situation, that is more like a permanent home than a homeless shelter.

With their own units, transitional housing offers more privacy.

Rules and Regulations in Transitional Housing

With the variety of transitional housing programs offered to individuals and their families, also comes rules and regulations that must be followed.

The rules are different depending on the program you are in, and as each program has their own, they also choose what will be enforced.

Rules and Regulations of Transitional Housing include, but are not limited to:

No engaging in illegal activities
Pay rent
Only house themselves (and children, if applicable)
No overnight guests
Submit to regular housing inspections
Assailants are prohibited from being on the property
Participation in program services (regardless of individual situation).
Meet with case manager
No alcohol, regardless of age
Complete logs/forms of progress towards their goal
No pets

While these are not all of the rules and regulations, these are the most common. Not all requirements are mandated, either, but negative consequences can occur for those who do not comply.

How To Search For Transitional Housing Near You

When looking for and choosing the right Transitional Housing program for you, make sure that you know (not think) it provides you with all of the assistance that you, as an individual in your situation, needs.

We recommend asking the following questions before selecting the transitional housing program for you.

1. What type of structure and accountability does this house have?
2. Does this facility have open communication with your rehabilitation center? (if applicable).
3. Does this feel like a safe place?
4. Can I co-exist with other people?
5. Am I prepared to learn and face challenges?

Remember, these homes are the transitional step that propel you forward in your growth, living situation, and overall stability; ultimately, resulting in you confidently living in a permanent home, able to provide for yourself and family. It’s not a vacation, but like one, by the end, you’ll feel different, hopefully better, and ready to take on the world ahead.

If you would like to find a transitional housing program in your state, you can use this search tool.

Post Domestic Violence Shelter Program

The Post Domestic Violence Shelter Program occurs when a non-profit or the government will make low income and affordable rental housing available to women and their children who are coming directly out of a domestic violence shelter. During this time frame, it is common that access to legal advocacy and other services are available to them as well.

What Is It Like to Live In Transitional Housing?

Living in transitional housing is a different experience for each person. Whether it’s due to the individual’s personality, the program’s location, how long they stayed, or the program itself, the personal account differs from one person to the next.

That being said, we have compiled and summarized the accounts of some individuals who have lived in Transitional Housing themselves. Please keep in mind, these are their experiences, and it does not mean it will be the exact same for you.

1. A rule book was provided, as well as laundry detergent, general hygiene items, towels, and bedding, too. The room was shared with another person so there was little privacy. While the building was co-ed, men and women were separated from one another.

2. You have to want to get out of homelessness and live independently for Transitional Housing to work. The typical stay in transitional housing is 6 months, but sometimes, it takes longer to obtain a stable income. Some charitable organizations will allow you to stay longer.

3. While in transitional Housing, you are provided with food and shelter. It’s us especially helpful during crisis periods in life, there are many benefits that outweigh the negatives, but it is hard on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Not to mention, you are around a lot of people and can become exposed to illness/germs that may be spreading around.

Moving Into a Permanent Home From Transitional Housing

The goal of transitional housing is to move into a permanent home that is safe, affordable, and sustainable.

So now you’re ready to move from your transitional housing to a permanent home; or maybe, you’re in the beginning stages, only thinking about it. No matter your current situation and mindset, there are a few things you should know before making the move.

In order to be able to move from transitional housing to permanent housing, you must be working, have and income, and strive to gain stability.

When moving from your transitional housing to a permanent home, some programs may allow the whole family to live in the same apartment complex or home.

But they may not. You should make sure that you are given all of the potential options available to you. And as we’ve learned already, each program and situation of individuals vary from one to another.

No matter where you end up for your permanent home, the living units are clean, and you, as the renter, will be provided with the local or state laws. In transitional housing or long-term programs, the tenants are protected.

If you are planning to move out of transitional housing, consider applying for Section 8 Housing Voucher in your area.

Faith Based Transitional Housing

There are various Transitional Housing programs available, many of which are faith-based.


The Micah Group is a non-profit, faith-based organization. Their program provides a safe residence for women to recover from substance abuse.

Some of the services they offer and provide are, support groups, peer-to-peer coaching, life skill training and self-esteem building, trust building/overcoming trust issues, money management, conflict resolution, and job search assistance.

All Micah’s programs are free.

Born Again Ministries

Born Again Ministries is a Christian, non-profit program that is residential and community based. Their focus is on the re-development of the Christian lifestyle, values, morals, and principals.

Born Again Ministries works to foster inner strength from an individual’s relationship with God.

Through their 12 step meetings and spiritual work, they have helped many find sobriety and overcome addiction. They provide housing, clothes, food, and shelter


The GRACE Transitional Housing program helps move their clients towards

The homes are ready for move in by GRACE volunteers, and participants in GRACE’s Transitional Housing program are provided with clean and stable housing.

While in the program, they will participate in intensive case management. With the guidance and support of their case manager they are assisted in achieving their educational, financial, and career goals. Progress towards these goals is tracked by the case manager who assist with day-to-day-functioning. The homes are ready for move in by GRACE volunteers.

Those who participate in GRACE’s Transitional housing program have access to other of the GRACE programs, allowing them to receive other assistance. They also have a Community Clinic where medical needs can be cared for. GRACE can partially fund additional needs, such as, transportation costs, tuition aid, school supplies, day care, etc.,

If you are interested in being a possible candidate for GRACE Transitional housing, you can find their interest form here.

House of Mercy

House of Mercy is a non-profit program for both the men and women of Washington state. They have 25 houses and service five counties!

Their program is open to all; whether you’ve been incarcerated or are transitioning from a treatment center, they accept anyone who has the desire to participate in their clean and sober faith-based housing program.

House of Mercy offers weekly church services and weekly house meetings. By attending these structured events, participants gain discipline, structure, and accountability.

In House of Mercy’s program, they will receive a safe, clean, and sober living environment, support and accountability, employment referrals, and leadership development.

You can apply online to the House of Mercy or apply with their Print/PDF copy of the application.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is a residential, faith-based living program for men.

Their program provides structure and accountability that aids in the development of a sober lifestyle and support system. This is built through their curfew, daily chores, and weekly 12 Step Meetings.

Accountability is kept through daily breathalyzer testing for alcohol use, and random urine testing to screen for alcohol and drug use.

To participate in the program, participants must find and maintain a full-time job that will support them.

The Lighthouse works to make sure that participants feel that they are not at an institution, but at a home.

While there is a lot of structure and responsibilities while participating in the program participants are not in classes all day, and there are several common areas for everyday use.

New Beginnings Big Country

The New Beginnings-Big Country is non-profit, ministry-based transitional housing program. Their program is located in Texas and is for women who are coming out of jail, prison, or any other form of bondage.

The program is a Christian based one that focuses on helping women to live a Christian life, while also teaching life skills. New Beginnings Big Country ask for a one-year commitment from those who participate.

They currently have a maximum capacity of 45 women. If you are interested in contacting New Beginnings Big County, you can do so – here.

You can contact New Beginnings Big Country here.

Those who suffer from homelessness and addiction need assistance

With transitional housing, those who need assistance are provided the necessary services that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to and receive.

Services like, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and supportive structured environments, can truly change the course of a person’s life, and put them on a better path for the future.

Regardless of the Transitional Housing Program that is chosen, each one provides guidance, support, and shelter of its own making. It’s not just a place to stay and a cycle continues. Its purpose is to break this cycle and help individuals regain and maintain stability, and they can.

Please let us know in the comments below which transitional housing has helped you get back on your feet.

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