The New York Times published on Veteran’s Day an article entitled “On the Bottle, Off the Streets, Halfway There“. The article is about an innovative housing first project in Seattle for persons, including veterans, who are chronic inebriates.
A dozen New Jersey leaders were able to attend a CSH workshop where the director of the program Bill Hobson spoke. This type of supportive housing works and has successful outcomes.
The following is a brief excerpt from the article.
The $11 million project has endured the angry complaints of some that it uses public money to enable, even reward, chronic inebriates. And Bill Hobson, the director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, has met that anger with some of his own.
First, he says, the complaints reflect no understanding of the grip of alcoholism: Do you really think these men and women would rather live on the streets? Second, the cost to the public appears to have dropped as the number of visits to the emergency room, jail and the sobering center has plummeted.
Finally, he asks, what kind of equation of humanity is this: Since you refuse to stop drinking, since you refuse to address your disease, you must die on the streets.
“These guys have nothing going for them,” he says. “They could not be more dispossessed.”