All shelters have rules their participants must live by. Most of them have some rule prohibiting bringing alcohol on the premises and/or being drunk. Which means hard core alcoholics usually go without shelter even in the worst weather. A “Wet” shelter is an attempt to offer services despite their addiction.
FYI: the title of the article below is misleading. These shelters don’t actually give alcohol to the residents, they just don’t forbid the presence of alcohol or require participants to be sober. I’d never heard of wet shelters before, and had no idea Seattle actually has such a place. I’m not sure what I think about it. I encourage you to read the whole article, particularly the comments. There are some interesting pros and cons discussed.
Duffy visited Seattle facilities last year and said he was excited by what he saw. However, he admitted to San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius that he was slightly taken aback by “big Rubbermaid tubs with the patient’s name on them … And inside is a case of Old Milwaukee.”
Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of Coalition for Homelessness San Francisco told The Huffington Post that Seattle’s situation greatly differs from how San Francisco handles drug and alcohol use inside city-sponsored housing.
“In Seattle, they have strict sobriety requirements for entry into their housing programs,” said Friedenbach. “Here, we already engage in ‘harm reduction’ strategies and, because of tenants’ rights, the city can’t just bust into someone’s room and tell them what they’re allowed to drink just because they’re poor.”