July 8, 2006


'Bed and booze' deal for city's drunks (Catherine Elsworth, The Telegraph, July 8th, 2006)

Chronic street drunks are being given publicly-funded accommodation where they can continue to drink in a controversial scheme designed to save taxpayers' money.

The "wet apartments" in Seattle house homeless alcoholics whose frequent admissions to hospital, arrests and overnight detention in jail cells cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Now 75 of the city's most costly "chronic public inebriates" have been given new flats in Eastlake, a special city centre block. Residents are not required to become sober, join Alcoholics Anonymous or attend church and while support services and counselling are provided they are not mandatory.

Previously, most homeless drunks would be turned away from shelters and housing projects unless they agreed to stop drinking or undergo treatment. Instead, Eastlake hopes to reduce the strain on local emergency and criminal justice services by getting drunks off the streets and out of harm's way.

Sobriety is "encouraged" - no drinking in public spaces is allowed - but residents, most of whom are on disability benefits, are allowed to buy alcohol at nearby shops to drink in their rooms.

Apparently their 3:00 am demonstration for free cable service was something to see.

Posted by Peter Burnet at July 8, 2006 10:49 AM

It's easier to booze them into a stupor than to try to heal them.

Posted by: pj at July 8, 2006 11:04 AM

Man, if this isn't a story idea the writers of "The Simpsons" can use for Barney Gumble, I don't know what is.

Posted by: John at July 8, 2006 11:09 AM

I hope they had enough common sense to not allow smoking in those rooms. I'd hate to think that one of those drunks would die from second hand smoke.

Posted by: AllenS at July 8, 2006 12:15 PM

Saw this headline and though, 'hey, sounds like something Seattle can do, too." I'm wrong again. But why don't they just house them in the roving "tent city for the homeless" Seattle "activists" has been inflicting on the Eastside for the last few years?

And does this count as effects of "second-hand booze"?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 8, 2006 12:30 PM