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In 2004, the Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court hosted an open meeting of community providers to begin dialogue about the ongoing need for housing in the Billings community. Central to that conversation was a discussion about housing specifically for parents/families in recovery. Data gathered by the Family Drug Court indicated that, overall, parents and children had better long-term outcomes in cases where children were allowed to remain in their parent’s care during the parent’s recovery process (assuming that environment was safe and secure for the children). Locally, the only program currently offering this opportunity was Michele’s House. Data gathered by Child and Family Services indicated that far more families would be eligible to take advantage of such an opportunity if more housing was available.

Out of that original meeting, a small work group was formed under the umbrella of the Roots of Promise Coalition. Between 2004 and 2007, that work group began researching other programs and creating a basic work plan for what type of housing would be ideal, policy, procedure, and staffing needs. The work group was comprised of representatives from Family Drug Court, Child and Family Services, Family Tree Center, and providers from other non-profits, as well as foster parents and interested community individuals.

In early 2007, the Administration on Children Youth and Families announced the availability of a grant to “increase the well-being of, and to improve the permanency outcomes for, children affected by methamphetamine and other substance abuse.” The work group felt that this grant was perfect to provide start-up funding for this type of project. In October 2007, Second Chance Homes, under the umbrella of Family Tree Center, was awarded one of only fifty-two of these grants given nationally. By December 2007, the leadership team had formed a preliminary board of directors and hired a director. Doors to the first of the Second Chance Homes, the “main” house, were opened in March 2008, with the other homes opening shortly after that and throughout 2008.