Halfway houses are typically thought of as places where people recovering from substance abuse or recently released from correctional facilities live to readjust to a normal lifestyle. However, in many states, including North Carolina, halfway houses are not legally defined. There are licensed residential facilities that work with government agencies to provide a place to live and group support for people in transition. However, there are also many unlicensed halfway houses where people have opened up their homes to those in need of a place to stay as well as numerous multiindividual "recovery roommate" situations. There are a number requirements to fulfill before opening an adult residential facility in North Carolina.

Obtain a Certificate of Need

Complete an application for a Certificate of Need, showing the facility meets a current need as outlined in the annual State Medical Facilities Plan. A public hearing will then be scheduled within 20 days of initial approval of the application by the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation Mental Health Licensure and Certification Section. The hearing will help determine whether you will be given a Certificate of Need.

Select a Building

If your proposed halfway house mental health facility receives a Certificate of Need, the next step is to find a building that meets the Division of Health Service Regulation mental health licensing standards. The building may need to be renovated to meet the regulations.

Get Local Zoning and Construction Approval

Submit your proposal, including floor plans and photos of the facility, to the state Division of Health Service Regulation for review. A North Carolina mental health residential facility must meet certain standards over and above the usual residential safety standards including those for the size of bedrooms and bathrooms, and, depending on the services offered, might require limited medical facilities. Also get local zoning approval.

Go Through Final Inspection and Licensure

Attend an interview with a representative from the state Division of Health Service Regulation. The representative reviews final details, confirms completion of the application process and conducts an on-site inspection of the facility to assure compliance with all rules and regulations before approving your license. Licenses must be renewed annually.