Our Mission and History

For over 50 years, we’ve been community leaders in the realm of reentry.

Our mission is to innovate and deliver evidence-based human service programs that empower those we serve to build successful, productive lives.

Our Story

In 1967, there were only a handful of halfway houses in the country. The need for transitional services for people leaving prison was not something many people had ever thought about, and there was no program to meet this unique need. Fortunately, David Dunning, an Episcopal priest whose ministry included Bible Studies at the Ohio Penitentiary, not only thought about it–he made it happen.

Since 1967, Alvis has adapted to meet the evolving needs of our clients, their families, and our communities as a whole. But the guiding principle on which Alvis was founded remains unchanged. We have always believed that if given the proper support and tools to do so, people can and will turn their lives around.

Our lines of service have expanded from our initial target population of justice-involved individuals, but many times, the problems addressed by our programs overlap. Really, we’ve become more holistic and as our resources have grown, we’ve been able to solve larger-scale problems related to reentry. Workforce development and evidence-based behavioral healthcare are have become cornerstones of our programs. With heightened focus, we now also serve those with developmental disabilities, survivors of human trafficking, and women and families impacted by addiction, behavioral healthcare concerns, and/or justice involvement.

Does this sound broad? Probably! That’s because reentry is a complex matter that affects entire families and communities. We’re committed to doing our part to help people turn their lives around by 180 degrees.

Our Numbers

  • It costs more than $22,000 each year to keep an offender in prison in Ohio.  Alvis’ reentry programs are 75% less expensive compared to prison and they are more effective: Three years after completing the Alvis residential reentry program, 79% of our clients have remained out of the criminal justice system, compared to the national average of about 50%. 
  • Substance abuse costs the United States over $600 billion annually.  Each dollar invested in addiction treatment programs, such as those provided by Alvis, yields a return of between $4 and $7.  Major savings to the individual and to society also stem from fewer interpersonal conflicts; greater workplace productivity; and fewer drug-related accidents, including overdoses and deaths.
  • We have grown tremendously since the first Alvis program opened in Columbus in the 1960s. But one thing has remained constant throughout the years – our unwavering commitment to creating stronger communities and healthier lives.

Our Milestones

1967 – 1976

  • Franklin County Halfway House, Inc. is chartered and the founders purchase a home on Bryden Road to provide services to men transitioning to the community from the Ohio Penitentiary.
  • The agency is named Alvis House, after a respected, progressive former warden at the Ohio Penitentiary, the late Ralph W. Alvis.
  • In its first year providing services (1968), the 15-bed facility assists approximately 60 men paroled from the Ohio Penitentiary.
  • Alvis House becomes a United Way member agency and opens its second and third residential programs.

1977- 1986

  • A workforce development program designed to address the unique needs of justice-involved individuals is established. The program is able to expand with the help of a landscape and litter abatement program and funding from the Private Industry Council, through the Job Training Partnership Act.
  • Alvis House opens Wittwer Hall, a specialized treatment program for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • The Alvis House Training Academy opens, providing professional training in community corrections, counseling, and other specializations.

1987 – 1996

  • Alvis House begins serving women in its residential reentry programs.
  • Alvis House expands its efforts beyond Central Ohio with the acquisition of COPE Center (Comprehensive Offender Program Effort) in Dayton.
  • The agency embraces research-based programs and cognitive behavioral therapy throughout agency programs. The first Program Services Center opens and provides space for counseling services, including professional alcohol and drug counseling services.
  • Quality assurance program is established, with long-term goal to achieve accreditation of all Alvis House residential programs.


  • Alvis House opens a groundbreaking residential program at the VA Medical Center in Chillicothe to provide treatment for former offenders who are military veterans.
  • All residential correctional programs are accredited by the American Correctional Association.
  • Expansion continues as Alvis House builds a new residential facility from the ground up in Columbus and begins operating a new residential program in Toledo, Ohio.


  • Alvis House is called upon to expand services, both for individuals and families who have become involved in the criminal justice system; and for individuals with developmental disabilities. Franklin, Licking, Allen, Lucas and Ross Counties all house new and expanded Alvis programs.
  • New programs include Recovery Choices, an outpatient substance abuse treatment program, and CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), which serves women who were victims of human trafficking.
  • The agency becomes known simply as “Alvis.”
  • Evening of Light, Alvis’ signature fundraising event that supports the Alvis Family and Children’s program, is established.


  • Alvis is named 1 of the 5 nonprofits to watch in 2017 by The Columbus Foundation;
  • Amethyst, an agency that has provided recovery and treatment services to women in central Ohio for over 30 years, becomes a part of the Alvis family.
  • Extending services to the community with the opening of Pages Treatment and Recovery Center where community members can access integrative substance abuse treatment, health care services and referrals to other community services.

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