Harbour Hall

Addiction Treatment Services and Support Since 1973

Half-Way Home, Inc.

Harbor Hall initially incorporated under the name; Half-Way Home, Inc. in the fall of 1973 and opened its doors in February of 1974. The program was the brainchild of a group of local citizens, whose vision entailed setting up a half-way house for adult men, needing safe and supportive housing after completing treatment. When its doors were opened in the spring of 1974, Half-Way Home, Inc. operated from the benevolence of the community and relied heavily upon donated goods and volunteer labor to outfit, maintain and support its mission.

Harbor Hall, Inc.


Over the years it evolved from a halfway house in to a long-term, residential treatment program for adult males. The name was changed to Harbor Hall, Inc. in 1984 and it continues to hold a unique place for recovery oriented treatment. Even in today’s environment of managed care and facing pressures to shorten length of stays, Harbor Hall has maintained its quality, affordability and integrity.

Elmer “Leo” Desimpel


Leo Desimpel began attending 12 Step Support groups, that were hosted by Harbor Hall, in the mid 80′s. Leo started to feel a sense of kinship, with the residents and wanted to see each and every one of them become successful. As he got more attached to the place, he developed a burning desire to get involved with the mission. Having come from a large construction firm; i.e., Walter H. Desimpel Construction Company, Leo began envisioning what he thought Harbor Hall should look like. He spent the next 25 years sharing his creativity, generosity, and compassion for people who had developed a problem with alcohol and/or drugs. He joined the Board of Directors of Harbor Hall and tirelessly worked to inspire others with his vision. Leo had a twinkle in his eye and a big heart for those less fortunate and his passion and energy were so infectious that he quickly captured and swayed others to get involved. He recruited people that make a difference in the community and they set out to acquire funding for rebuilding the entire facility, a lot of it from the ground up. The renovations of Harbor Hall would insure an organization where, adult men could get involved in their recovery with dignity, in an atmosphere of comfort and respect. Harbor Hall would not be where it’s at today without Leo’s divine purpose and calling. He was instrumental in insuring that Harbor Hall’s renovations would not require a mortgage, thereby insuring that the costs for treatment continue to remain affordable.

Leo left the Board of Harbor Hall to become the President of Harbor Hall Foundation; developed to support the mission of the organization. The Foundation is involved with fundraising, developing capital campaigns for program growth and expansion, insuring an endowment fund for financial support, etc. Leo remained President of the Board of Directors of Harbor Hall Foundation for the remainder of his life.

Evolution of A Continuum of Care


During the mid 90’s, when renovations were nearing completion, the Board of Directors contracted with Hazelden to evaluate every part of the program. The Board hired a new executive director in November of 1990, as a result of the consultant’s recommendations. At the time, Harbor Hall’s primary mission was to provide treatment for chemically dependent, adult men. The new CEO contracted with Recovery Dynamics to train the clinical staff in a model of treatment based upon recovery oriented systems of care. The training guaranteed that a consistent model of treatment would be delivered by all staff, insuring that residents would be well grounded in recovery principles and practices. Once the renovations were completed and the program stabilized, Harbor Hall opened a sober living residence in 1991 for graduates of the residential program. The house consisted of six beds and a live-in supervisor. The residents committed to a six month length of stay and were required to attend weekly continuing care groups, that taught Stage II recovery skills. These skills were necessary to help individuals develop a lifestyle centered on recovery. Research had shown that most men coming to our long-term residential program had a long term history of drug and/or alcohol use. The average age, which many of our residents started using drugs and/or alcohol was 11 and the average age they entered Harbor Hall was 32. Many of our residents needed to learn skills that other people took for granted. These skills included setting up a budget, managing a checking account, forming credit, forming sober recreation/leisure activities, developing a sober support network, etc. The ability to remain for six months to one year has helped many men to develop a lasting commitment to ongoing recovery. It is magical when we can see a resident truly reshape their life and to know that we gave them the time necessary to make these changes in their lives. We supported the model so highly that the Foundation purchased another house so we could accommodate six more residents.

Our Therapeutic Approaches


Clinical treatment focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of addiction and integrates therapy and counseling into a broader treatment plan. Clients engage with trained professionals to help them understand how addiction occurs. There can also be levels of co-occurring disorders that accompany addiction.


Recreation is a key component to the treatment program at Harbor Hall. We are fortunate to have such great community partners who help facilitate these opportunities in Northern Michigan. Additionally, the residents of Harbor Hall donate their time to many of these organizations, including Camp Daggett, as their community service.


“We are all spiritual people experiencing humanness”. At our Residential treatment facility, we have observed a majority of clients report resentments, assumptions, suspicions and contempt towards God, the concept of Higher Power, religion, and spirituality. While we are not a “faith-based” organization, our open-minded support and guidance surrounding the concept and contempt of spirituality, God, or religion has remained a highlight of the overall client experience in our treatment program.