Like, put them into permanent housing, and let them keep drinking?

Well, that’s a novel idea.

According to the New York Times:

Last year, King County created a list of 200 “chronic public inebriates” in the Seattle (Washington) region who had cost the most to round up and care for.

Seventy-five were offered permanent homes in a new apartment building known by its address, 1811 Eastlake.

Each had been a street drunk for several years and had failed at least six efforts at sobriety. In a controversial acknowledgment of their addiction, the residents — 70 men and 5 women — can drink in their rooms. They do not have to promise to drink less, attend Alcoholics Anonymous or go to church.

In 2003, the public spent $50,000, on average, for each of 40 homeless alcoholics found most often at the jail, the sobering center and the public health center, according to a county official.

This year, it’s expected that the annual cost for each new resident of 1811 Eastlake will be $13,000, or a total of $950,000. (This doesn’t include the cost of construction or making the interior suitable for dorm-like living.)

Of course, not everyone is happy with the experiment.

“Bunks for drunks — it’s a living monument to failed social policy,” said John Carlson, a conservative radio talk show host here. This approach, he said, is “aiding and abetting someone’s self-destruction.”

Oh, I don’t know. It’s worth a try, right?

As one drunk said, “We’re going to drink somewhere.”

My only concern is that the drunks will get housing that is badly needed for others, like people with children. It’s not like there’s extra low-income housing just sitting there, waiting for occupants.

Source: Homeless Alcoholics Receive a Permanent Place to Live, and Drink – By Jessica Kowal, The New York Times

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Updated: January 2018



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