Limen House: How it all Began

The idea for Limen House, a halfway house for alcoholics and addicts recovering from their disease, came about in the Fall of 1968. The idea grew out of the experiences of people from St. Andrews Church in Wilmington, who had been working directly with alcoholics through AA and the St. Andrews social service program. The word li'-men is a scientific term of Latin origin which means threshold; the place or point of entering or beginning; the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced.

The founders felt this was an appropriate name for a facility established expressly for providing a home for men seeking a new life, a way back to their families and communities, after years of living life lost in the death of alcoholism. To get the endeavor off the ground took great effort. Collaborations took place with officials from the Alcoholic Commission, the Department of Mental Health, the Mental Health Association, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other community agencies that existed to facilitate rehabilitation of alcoholics.

At that time, there were no halfway houses in the state where the homeless could live while continuing their fight to retain sobriety and look for employment. The committee felt strongly that the project should involve the entire community, rather than remain solely a St. Andrew's responsibility. Limen House was incorporated as a non-profit organization in March 1969. In July, they leased a house at 903 N. Madison Street, and sought funding. The house they leased was part of Sacred Heart Church, and they secured it for the fee of $1 a year. The entire house, with thirteen bedrooms, was completely furnished by contributions. The original house opened November 17, 1969 with a staff of two: the resident manager and a cook.

Women's Limen House

Limen House has been supported by contributions from private funds: from individuals, industry, foundations, service clubs and churches. A continual source of funding was deemed necessary, since a halfway house cannot be self-supporting.

Community acceptance of the halfway house concept led to the opening of a Limen House for Women in August 1973. The Houses have served as models for other halfway houses in Delaware and other states. In 2000, the Men's House was moved to another location in Wilmington, and its important work continued. Also, the Women's House was refurbished in recent years so that we could continue offering a helping hand to recovering women.