duftybaume.jpgFacilities where alcoholics can drink in a structured setting known as wet houses have been the stuff of of Dr. Drew, CNN, and NYT handwringing. Now, a wet house might be coming to SF if former supervisor and newly-appointed director of HOPE (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement) Bevan Dufty has his way.

According to the Chron, Dufty visited a Seattle wet house (they’ve had them running since 2005) last year, and believes the program would do wonders for the city.

As KCBS reports, the city spends about $13.5 million annually on its top 225 chronically homeless inebriates.

“That means that we’re spending money on emergency services, ambulances, shelters and jails, all of these ways that we’re spending money that are not really productive and not having good outcomes,” Dufty told KCBS.

Mark Trotz, director of housing and urban health for the Department of Public Health points out to the Chron that the wet house idea isn’t as wild as it might sounds, as “It’s not a wholesale different idea from what goes on in San Francisco right now,” saying that the formerly homeless people currently housed in city-supervised housing can “drink in their rooms.”

Dufty, who starts his new job today, says his first task will be to convince Mayor Lee to head to Seattle to see a wet house for himself.


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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Greg Dewar

    From what I’ve heard from old friends in seattle, the program up there ended up working out well, keeping people in a safe place, but also having access to addiction recovery services when they realize that there’s another way to live.

    Germany has “bars” in a similar vein – they don’t give away or sell alcohol, but people can sit there and drink, but there are also people in there who get to know them and encourage them to seek treatment. It beats having these folks on the streets and sucking up services from 911, etc.

  • Greg Dewar

    From what I’ve heard from old friends in seattle, the program up there ended up working out well, keeping people in a safe place, but also having access to addiction recovery services when they realize that there’s another way to live.

    Germany has “bars” in a similar vein – they don’t give away or sell alcohol, but people can sit there and drink, but there are also people in there who get to know them and encourage them to seek treatment. It beats having these folks on the streets and sucking up services from 911, etc.