"Wet" homeless shelters allow alcoholics allowed to drink alcohol
More here: Where alcoholics can drink themselves to death – The Chart - CNN.com Blogs
St. Anthony, which receives funds from the state and the Catholic church, is known as a "wet house" because Hagerman and the others are allowed to drink on site, with some caveats - including no mouthwash.
"It's not bad. I got cable TV," Hagerman says. "You can't drink in your room, but you can drink. You gotta do it outside."
The theory is that it's better to allow these guys to drink in a safe place than to end up on the streets and in the city's emergency rooms, jails, and detox centers. At St. Anthony, they have access to nurses - and doctors if the situation warrants - plus on-site case managers to aid in their addiction. Ideally, St. Anthony's counselors want the residents to sober up – but they realize that there isn't a strong chance of that happening.
St. Paul isn't the only city that has a "wet house"-style residence - Seattle was one of the first cities to put this concept into practice in 2005, and Memphis is considering building one, too.
Another argument in favor of the concept is that it saves money. Each St. Anthony's resident costs about $18,000 a year to house and feed, about $1,500 a month. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that if these men were out on the street, it could cost over $4,000 a month in incarceration, shelter and sobering center use, hospital-based medical services, publicly funded alcohol and drug detoxification and treatment, and emergency medical services.