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  • Kelly Rhone

Transitional Living

OAKLAND, California - Why hello there! I see that you’re back once again and here to learn more! Well, this time though, what we will be talking about is “Transitional Living” rather than another type of housing.


Now you’re probably wondering what exactly is this transitional living that we will be discussing despite the previous talks about houses which also belong to the “Transitional Housing” category. If you’re thinking about sober houses and halfway houses, then indeed, those are the houses I referred to as part of the category.


Before we begin, let us differentiate the terms “housing” and “living” so as to avoid other confusions along the way.

  • Housing – According to Cambridge Dictionary, this is defined as buildings for people to live in or the act of providing accommodation when you look at the definition in Collins Dictionary.

  • Living – Meanwhile, this term can be defined as the way in which you live your life as stated in Cambridge Dictionary; the manner in which one conducts one’s life in Collins Dictionary.

Looking back, the previous topic was about the benefits Transitional Housing can bring to you, hence, let’s dig deeper as well into what Transitional Living really is and how it works! To start it off, let’s have a short run-through about the beginning of transitional living, shall we?

Stated in the article I stumbled upon was that the most earnest beginning of transitional living was in 1878, through the “holiness” teaching of William Booth and wife Catherine who began the Whitechapel Christian Mission in London’s East End to help feed and house the poor, and this mission was reorganized along military lines, earning the group the label “Salvation Army”.


Meanwhile, it was during great depression in United States, in 1929, when the concept of half-way houses was born, and it was in these times that opiates from the Far East and Asiatic countries society in general began to resent the presence of these “drunks” when an enormous increased in alcohol intake took place.


Now have you ever wondered how the foundation of transitional living was formed? Let me introduce to you the organization that set it all off!


To make the story short, it all started with a man who had drinking problems named Bill Wilson, who became associated with the Oxford Group and Dr. Bob Smith who was amongst the group as well. Together, they formed the organization, “Alcoholics Anonymous”, with its concepts focused on the Spiritual matters and scripture with basic program design from the Oxford Group, in which the program was designed to aid one into “admitting” and “acting” to their drinking problem. While Bill W. would bring “drunks” to his home to help them sober up, Dr. Bob utilized a strong spiritual approach through hospital admissions. Eventually, the “12 step program” of the A.A. was, and is, the standard for not only Alcohol recovery groups, but also medical and mental health fields as well as today’s addiction programs as the said program began to gain acceptance.


Now that we’ve covered that, let’s move on to what transitional living may be defined as!

Putting together what I’ve read so far, transitional living is basically any living situation that is transitional, as it’s worded, hence the facilities for this type of living usually offer low-cost housings whilst offering professional support, education, and a stable living environment. It is when people enter the stopping point called “Transitional Housing” to receive aid in returning to a daily routine which tends to be hard to do without proper planning and assistance as there are many possibly triggers to oneself on the path of recovery.


In famhelp.com‘s words, “a transitional living program is a program that gradually adjusts young adults to the pressures of the outside world, instead of throwing them into it headfirst”.

Common types of transitional living include transitioning from the following:

  1. Prison or jail

  2. Addiction treatment center or mental health facility

If you’re wondering where one can actually find these kinds of houses, take note that many well-known private and non-profit organizations, by government, churches, and other charitable organizations provide these housings.


Moving on to the next question most of you would probably ask, “how does transitional living work?”, and this question, I have answered back then as well but will still gladly recap it for you!


So in every transitional living community, there are different services, layouts, and access that range widely depending on the program which makes some programs more beneficial than the other, depending on one’s situation, and so, transitional housings typically involves temporary residence of up to 24 months to help the people within stabilize their lives. As such, residents in these housings work together to achieve social interaction, lifelong friendships, and sobriety whilst committing to the rules of the home!


Are those really possible you ask? Well it’s quite plausible! After all, the ones who can understand one’s situation more are those who had been or are in a similar situation as well!

Meanwhile, in another article I’ve read, it was said that transitional living programs have two major categories, which are: shelter and rehabilitation.

  1. Shelter – This is the concept that provides the basic needs for nutrition, comfort, and sleeping space, hence, this type of program is usually very short-term as it is regulated by specific founding organizational requirement that are “target” specific, such as the homeless. Meanwhile, there’s also another shelter that provides all of the aforementioned, but this time, it comes with the addition of security and life skills such as a women’s shelter. Such programs tend to be very flexible when it comes to the “stay” time as each case is treated independently. As such, this concept doesn’t require its residents to pay fees for services offered as outside funding is usually utilized.

  2. Rehabilitation – Now these programs involve services made available to meet the needs of the particular issues of the admission.

Nevertheless, most transitional living programs have the same operational and development standards. Moreover, most of these centers are self-supporting, one without affiliation nor obligation towards outside sources as they usually charge nominal rent or fee to afford the applicants a safe, clean, and secure environment along with care plans and balanced meals to bridge learning and application amidst their recovery geared towards their purpose and program.


In these living centers, program areas aimed to better support the person through their specific needs are available. Such areas include educational advancement opportunities, job skills training opportunities, “life skills” workshops and classes, and specific classes or meeting that are directly associated to their issue.


Now what do we call people admitted into these programs you ask? I’ve read that we call them residents!


The word “resident” here does not only mean an individual, it could also mean a family, depending on the program design, and this resident can be admitted through the following methods: self-admittance, via family, via friends, referral (it may be from another transitional center), or court order. Hence, most programs have admission requirements and an “entry” intake instrument.


As example of the said instrument would be a “standards” tool known as the A.S.I (Addiction Severity Index) that measures and presents domestic, addiction, and social understandings and personal “life” issues which are administered by some alcohol and/or drug living center.

What is that for you ask? It’s for living centers to design a personal or individual Care Plan for that particular client or family who had submitted their admissions intake information!

Meanwhile, I’ve also read that depending on the availability of personnel, materials, and finances, a transitional center may offer its residents the following: child care, job skills classes, money management workshops, domestic skills, self-advocacy, social skills, and crises intervention.


Another thing we should know would be that transitional living is also open to those who are homeless as it is meant to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing as well.

Moving on to one of the most important things we ought to know of: the intent of transitional living centers!


As said in an article, the said living centers aim to provide a place where one can re-establish their self-worth, re-discover their place in society, and find compassion and love through Spiritual discovery and a genuine understanding of personal relationships, such being the reason why the centers try to stick with a “home” atmosphere where relationships between the residents, staff, and volunteers become closer to that of a family.


Now knowing the intention of transitional living centers, I can say that this really can be a good option for those considering it! Nonetheless, choosing the right living transitional living program for one is quite vital to secure the best experience during their stay, hence, one should make sure to keep in mind their situation and the profiles of the residents within the program.

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