We choose not to use the term “wet house,” which can imply a “party house” or conjure up other images that can easily lead to disdain or ridicule. However, “wet house” is a term that often appears in the common parlance, especially in the media. Here are examples of some of the many supportive housing facilities for people experiencing persistent alcohol use disorder around the country.
The 75-bed site in Seattle is one of the most studied and researched facilities of its kind. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a three-year study was conducted. A study in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) demonstrated a savings of $2,449 in public costs per person per month, even after accounting for housing program costs.
Research published in the American Journal of Public Health documents decreases in alcohol use and alcohol-related problems among residents. These results provided a compelling rebuttal to the “enabling” hypothesis, which holds that providing alcohol-dependent people with housing where they are not prohibited from drinking would cause them to drink even more and experience more adverse consequences as a result.
The New San Marco Apartments have 30 single-room occupancy units for chemically dependent individuals and 40 efficiency units for people who have experienced chronic homelessness. Like all such facilities, the idea behind the New San Marco project is “harm reduction.” It is based on the recognition that some alcoholics may never be able to quit drinking. But it is possible to reduce the harm they do to themselves, and to society.