New data shows that a Seattle wet house — which puts street alcoholics in their own studios and lets them keep on drinking — saved Seattle taxpayers $4 million last year. These findings fly in the face of conventional wisdom, which assumes that homeless alcoholics need to be 100% sober before they can “handle” being housed. It’s the difference between expecting the alcoholic to conform to mainstream social norms, and meeting the person where he’s at.
The Seattle wet house is a real innovation in help for the homeless. For more on poverty, health care, and innovation, check out The House of Hope and Fear, coming this summer to a bookstore near you.