By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Sitting in an office at a St. Paul cremation and funeral service, 32-year-old Aimee Hallen recalls the police phone call on Saturday.

“They were looking for the next of kin,” said Hallen, as she wiped away her tears.

In a strange, yet very real way, her sudden grief felt a bit awkward since she’s reflecting on a father she barely knew.

“I know that he’s lived a hard life. I know that he’s lived on the streets. I know that he has worn out his welcome at many places,” Hallen admitted.

Hallen’s father was 55-year-old Ralph Stansbury, who battled a lifelong addiction to alcohol. For Hallen, softening the shock of Saturday’s sudden phone call was the knowledge that her estranged father wasn’t found frozen under a bridge.

Stansbury died a quiet death while sleeping in his simple room at St. Anthony Residence.

“Pretty basic,” is how site manager Bill Hockenberger described client’s quarters.

The residence for Ramsey County’s chronic alcoholics is operated by Catholic Charities. The mission is not to treat or cure alcoholics of their addiction, but rather to reduce harm — to both themselves and others.

“The client that moves in here pretty much had their last fight. They’re at a point in life where they’ve lost their housing so many times that they know what they need,” explained Hockenberger.

And what they need, said Hockenberger, is a safe and simple place to stay. Everyone who stays at the facility has a couple of things in common — they are all chronic alcoholics who’ve failed many attempts at treatment and they’ve spent a good share of their time living on the streets.

Hockenberger, himself a recovering alcoholic, said that’s because they’ve exhausted most ties to family and burned bridges of support.

“Bad things happen on the streets,” said resident Paul Schiller.

At 54, Schiller’s home is now a 10-foot-by-10-foot room built of concrete block walls. It’s much like a college dorm with room enough only for a single bed, a television and a bedside table.

“There’s been better days in my life, but this is where I ended up,” explained Schiller.

But what makes St. Anthony Residence so different from conventional treatment programs is that if Schiller or any of the residents want to drink, they still can.

Although drinking is not allowed in their private rooms, they are free to smoke and drink on an outside patio. Residents have to buy their own alcohol with whatever meager income they can scrape together.

Schiller said he often goes “canning,” by collecting aluminum beverage cans and turning them in for a few dollars.

However, any alcohol brought into the building has to be checked at the front desk. Staff will place the alcohol in a locked room and turn it over upon request.

“Mainly safety and it’s part of harm reduction model. We can control and let them monitor their drinking a bit,” said Hackenberger.

Catholic Charities director of housing and emergency services, Tracy Berglund said, giving chronic alcoholics housing reduces the cost to everyone.

“There are studies that find when folks get housing, their drinking reduces,” she said.

Then there is the cost comparison of housing people at $42 per day versus the thousands of dollars spent on each trip to a detox center or hospital emergency room.

“Most of our folks have gone to treatment multiple times. We get a majority of our referrals from Ramsey County detox,” said Berglund.

Instead, St. Anthony Residence provides the 60 residents with three meals per day as well as necessary medical services provided by an on-site nurse.

Still, some critics have said that allowing chronic alcoholics to continue drinking is a bit like giving up on any possible rehabilitation. Berglund said the fact remains that treatment only works when the person is amenable to it.

“It helps to erase the pain,” said Schiller. He said he drinks whenever he feels the need.

And for estranged loved ones like Aimee Hallen, who now grieves her father’s death, it is a battle that some will never win. To her, what matters most is knowing a loved one spent their last days with a sense of dignity — not wasting away on the streets.

To Hallen, what gives her comfort is the fact, “that he passed away in his sleep in a place that people knew he had passed away and could handle him properly.”

Comments (153)
  1. ahernandez says:

    not sure if I am in agreement, using money to support these people’s habits is wrong though. My alcoholic father lives with us and I am an only child, my mother died 4 years ago and he is wearing out his welcome. It’s hard to support someone who has that habit and is older and doesn’t want to listen or go to the doctor. I have one child and another on the way and I have to think of my kids welfare too. So I am not sure what I am going to do with him.

    1. Tammie says:

      @ahernandez- You should try and get your father in one of these homes. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call. Did he see this on the news? Maybe he would want to go. I feel bad for you and your kids.

      1. Jewels says:

        I went to High School with the individual that was Aimee’s father. I remember him and never knew he had the disease. Wished I could have helped him. I also live with an alcoholic. When he drinks he is another person. I keep my mouth shut and try to remember what my counselor has said. You answer the drinking person with four answers: Yes, No, I Don’t Know, Maybe. That’s it. I also have an addiction of Diet Pepsi and live with Diabetes. This is also a disease. Remember alcohol is a disease. I don’t kick him out when he’s drinking I pray that this day will pass and he’ll try harder again tomorrow. You don’t like the person when they are drinking, but remember he is a person with feelings and thoughts of his own and also may feel bad himself for the disease taking his control away. You may feel sorry for the person with diabetes, cancer or mental illness but you don’t for alcoholism. When you are born you don’t get choice if you want a disease or not! First and foremost is to understand the meaning of disease. I still want my sugar (chocolate, pie, donuts) and maybe cheat the same as the alcoholic, but that doesn’t make me bad. I slipped and will try harder. After awhile you get warn down or tired of beating yourself up and give up. Love is in the heart and mind. Yeah, for catholic charities. They use both human instincts.

    2. allison boisvert says:

      While I can appreciate how difficult this may be to accept in the land of ten thousand treatment centers….not everyone is going to become sober. The kind of addiction to alcohol that is found in this population does not compare with the ‘going to sober up at Hazelden crowd” This is an addiction that is not very well understood in the treatment world and much more complex than they would like to think. I hope that the tax payer can understand that this is not only humane but it is cost efficient. Unless, we choose to let people die on the streets and that of course is an option this is by far cheaper and remember you the tax payer will pay for this one way or the other… do you want to do it. Congradulations Catholic Charities.

      1. Sarah says:

        I agree with you 100% Allison. Where is there information about this sort of addiction? Has it been studied? As a former alcohol abuser, I am facinated by any new insights into addiction therapy. The current AA model is so ineffective – I’m interested in a new, holistic, innovative approach. It’s just not out there.

        I have to say, thanks to a non-government agency for thinking outside of the box and actually helping people in whatever way that might be.

    3. Kristine says:

      Get him into treatment. Get him committed if necessary. Contact social services in your county. It is never to late for him to change. Please don’t give up on him.

  2. Patti says:

    This is why I am proud to live in Minnesota. Programs like this give dignity to lives that are otherwise thought of as worthless. If we cannot be compassionate – we are nothing.

  3. Eric Strus says:

    so this story leaves me with so many questions? why does it only cost a few dollars a day to have these people there but yet you say it costs thousands to send them to detox??? how long does the average person stay there? do they get the alcohol provided to them? are all these people expected to die while there? how is this ok when dr. kivorkian was considered to be a killer? dont get me wrong, i am glad you aired the story but way to open ended!!!!! this just dont seem right. there are LOTS of people out here in the real world that need help and are trying to do the right thing by getting their lives back on track, not trying to drink themselves to death! explain to me how this is right??

    1. Dr. D. says:

      They have to find the money themselves for the alcohol. Many of them find recyclables to generate a little cash for their alcohol. It is not just the cost of detox that is being looked at but also the cost of numerous arrests for drunk and disorderly as well. They may die due to their alcoholism, but they may also finally “hit bottom” and decide they do not want to die and really commit themselves to treatment and becoming sober.They have to find the money themselves for the alcohol. Many of them find recyclables to generate a little cash for their alcohol. It is not just the cost of detox that is being looked at but also the cost of numerous arrests for drunk and disorderly as well. They may die due to their alcoholism, but they may also finally “hit bottom” and decide they do not want to die and really commit themselves to treatment and becoming sober.

      1. Jay Z says:

        If people are continously being enabled to live a destructive life style I don’t hold out hope that they will realize or care when they’ve “hit bottom”. They have basically “hit bottom” now if they are living there.

    2. Hank Goodness says:

      Detox $215 anight, amulance ride, $1000.00, emergency room, $1500.00
      St. Anthony Residence, 3 meals warm bed, secure place to live, priceless

    3. Tammie says:

      The stay at detox is 3 days.

    4. Richard says:

      Alright, I’ll explain it to you.
      First, re-read the article. A couple of your questions are answered in the article.
      Next, not everyone is curable, plain and simple. It’s just not going to happen.
      We, as a society, not you individually, have decided that we are going to do something as human beings. That means, we are not going to kill them because they won’t stop their habits; which is what doing nothing is the same as. So, we know they are not going to stop, and we are not going to let them freeze to death, or die some other gruesome death. We know the cost of their visiting detox or an ER is very expensive. The reason detox is expensive is that by statute and policy, detox centers have to provide a higher level of medical care, and by the time they arrive at a detox center (which they don’t go to on their own), they many times need expensive medical care. They have have been in fights, or have open and infected wounds, frostbite, etc., which has to be treated by law. That’s where a lot of the expense comes in. As an alternative, the system in the article provides an environment where a lot of that expensive medical care is eliminated because they have a nurse available, and for many of them, the availability of a clean bed in a warm room is attractive enough that they will take it as long as they can still have their little piece of comfort in this world, their drink.
      Yes, there are others in this world who are trying harder. Lucky them. Lucky you that you haven’t had this habit; but then again, I would bet you have some habit in your life that I could find fault with also; but I don’t. It truly is the luck of the draw (the family you grew up in, your early life, even your genetics). It’s just the way it is.
      As a society, we don’t kill people because they don’t work, or aren’t capable of learning, or can’t be rehabilitated. This is a safe, humane, and acceptable alternative.

      1. Lee says:

        You are so wrong it is unbelievable. You are why these people find themselves in this situation. You contribute to their bad habits. You allow their bad habits. You encourage their bad habits. The only thing you said that is somewhat agreeable is that we all have bad habits. The difference is that you think society should accommodate bad habits. Hell, I think life in this guy’s shoes is better than my own. I get up every day and go to work so he can reap the rewards of my hard work. He gets to go where he wants when he wants. He has all his meals paid for. He somehow even has the money for one of life’s little pleasures. A case of beer to get hammered with. I am stuck working all week while he steals my beer money. I want to get drunk all day. I want to have a cig hanging out of my mouth all day. I want a free place to live, free food to eat. Now that I think of it, yup, I quit, I’m going to go live on the street so i can blame everyone else for my problems and get free everything with absolutely no production. Everybody can be reformed; they just have to make the choice. If they choose to continue their bad habits, well, that their choice, but don’t ask me to contribute to it, because I care too much about you to let you go down that path. If your child is a meth head without a job, are you going to give her money to continue to get her meth since she is now addicted? Well Dad, I tried to quit, but it is easier to keep doing it, give me a hundred bucks so I can get more.

    5. Nancy says:

      if you re-read the story you will find the answers to your question on where they get the alcohol. The cost is simple, Hospital is for Profit, big profit and that is where they end up. The people in the real world are still able to get help and have homes….these folks do not, they are the lost souls who for what ever reason can not stop drinking, it is all they have.

    6. jlynn says:

      It is ri ght because these people have failed rehab many times, it is right because it provides them a place to stay rather than having them sleeping under a bridge, it is right becuas alcohol is NOT provided to them. If they want alcohol they have to find the money to get it. It is right because they are treated with dignity that every human being should be treated with.

      Not everyone is going to go through rehab and make it. Often they fail many times. They still have just as much right to be treated with dignity as anyone else. Yes, there are lots of other people who are trying to do the right thing etc. and you will find many other options for such people. The people who go to St. Anthony have run out of options. That doesn’t mean they should be turned away.

    7. Chanda Hadlock says:

      Its not just the cost of detox, but the cost of hospital stays and arrestes. It costs tax payers less to provide chronic addicts with adequate housing, food, and medical care than to foot the bill for multiple detox admissions, hosptial stays, and jail or prison time. Of course the programs do not supply them with alcohol and most do offer some support groups. Living in these conditions would give some the impetus to change and certainly takes the “glamour” out of the addict lifestyle. It can’t be easy to watch your peers deteriorate around you and still not be able to stop, staff are available for referrals to treatment when a client wants to try again. Most of these programs don’t actually allow alcohol on the premise however residents can be under the influence while there, which is in direct contrast to most shelters where you are not permitted to enter if you are under the influence. This keeps people off the street and reduces crime.

  4. Dianne St John says:

    Everyone deserves to die with dignity not matter type of problems they have in life. We cannot judge what their relationship with God may be. Alcholism is an illness and with some cannot be cured. I applaud Catholic Charities for this concern for this population.

  5. Ann Heydt says:

    I think this is a good idea. It’s a last resort for these guys and it is a compassionate response to providing a basic housing need. I respect Catholic Charities for doing this ministry. Thank you for doing this story.

  6. Connie Paulson says:

    Finally! A humane program for people with long term addiction and no where else to turn. The cost to humanity and the pocket book is less too!

  7. Pam Goerges says:

    Really pretty sad to hear that this is funded with county & state dollars when programs (D.U.I. Court) that are truly working to help the still suffering alchoholic struggle daily to get funding from the same resorces. Where is the balance? I fully understand not dieing on the street. But we must also have the funding to help better the lives of those who truly want to change!!

    1. Tammie Komer says:

      DUI court- Please what a waste of taxpayer dollars. Talking from experience here.

      1. Been there and saw that says:

        Agreed, as someone that has retired from law enforcement the whole DUI situation is a money maker for courts, lawyers and the officer on overtime. People don’t confuse someone that has a DUI with being a chronic alcoholic. Truthfully most DUIs are a momment when someone has used poor judgement not someone who has a chronic abuse problem.

      2. abusing days behind me says:

        Agree myself too – as a 4 time DWII – DUI abuser it was a total waste of $$$ for everyone.
        The internal light bulb turned on in my skull in 1979 and I woke up. Last use of anything other than aspirin was 3/18/1979. Thanks to all who supported me !

    2. mamatellie says:

      This is NOT funded with any tax dollars….it’s funded through CATHOLIC CHARITIES. NOT THE GOVERNMENT. RELAX.

    3. Richard says:

      We already have those funds. Why you chose DUI court as an example of a program that helps alkies is beyond me, unless you don’t understand the system. The courts pronounce judgment and REFER people. They don’t treat people. I think you really need to spend a few hours and understand the operation of your community, our society, the courts, and get to understand the nature of man. This is not a perfect world. We deal with what nature gives us, and that includes people who do not have all the abilities necessary to make it in this society. If you are looking for ‘balance’ (whatever you define that to be), why do you think it is a requirement? There is no ‘balance’. Never has been, never will be. That’s the way life is. Get over it.

    4. Sandy says:

      Pam, this is not funded with county and state dollars

    5. edward oleander says:

      Pam, please understand that providing a place to die is not the facilities *only* function, and that they save money in the long run. Just as Detox keeps people out of the ER in the short term, St. A and the other wet houses help reduce ER costs in the long term. Neither the hospitals nor taxpayers can afford excessive use of the ERs…

  8. Dan Feneis says:

    That’s nothing.

    We have one in St. Cloud that cost 4.71 million dollars to build for 40 residents. The cost every year to run it is approximately $5 million. What’s wrong with this picture? I wish the media would contact me.

    1. Richard says:

      You missed the obvious. THIS ONE IS RUN BY A PRIVATE CHARITY. Yours is run by the ‘guberment’. (Intentionally misspelled.)
      The article wasn’t about yours. Instead of the media contacting you, why don’t you contact Catholic Charities and see if they would be willing to take over the ownership/management of your facility?
      Stop the squacking, and do something yourself!
      So many of the people who are against programs like this will never actually DO SOMETHING themselves to solve problems. They think someone else will do it instead. You are just as much part of the society as anyone else. (It’s not dissimilar from those who don’t want to pay their share of taxes, and haven’t served in the service or any other contribution to the nation. They must think this country is a free ride for some reason.) DO SOMETHING!!!

  9. Tammie Komer says:

    Yes- This is something that should of been happening along time ago. Whether some people believe it or not. Alcoholism is a disease in some people and they should not be treated any different then someone with lets say cancer. Alcoholism has killed everyone in my family. My 28 year old son will be next. I lost a 23 year old niece and my 46 year old sister. My dad, my grandparents. You have these counselors (recovering alcoholics themselves) at these treatment facilities telling family members to kick their loved ones out on the street, they say “they have to hit rock bottom”. That is such a crock to me. Believe me every chronic alcoholic is at their rock bottom, they do not want to be sick all the time. I made a vow that when my son dies from his disease. I am going to sue the federal government, alcohol is their baby. If the government can sue the tabacco industry, I should by god be able to sue the alcohol industry to killing everyone in my family. You do not want to get me going on alcohol. That is one fight you will not win with me.

    1. Chanda Hadlock says:

      I’m sorry for your losses Tammy, please know that the chemical dependency field as come a long way in the past 20 years, not all counselors are in recovery, some are helping professionals who want to help people escape from addiction. You’re right, “hitting rock bottom” is a crock and you’ll be happy to know is no longer the recommendation. Currenlty most providers believe you can intervene at any point and of course prevention is the best place to start. Your son is not dead yet, there could be some hope for, however he will need to come to that realization on his own. I would suggest you look into Alnon or at the very least find a way to have your personal needs met outside of the family and addictions. Good luck.

    2. Ruth says:

      Have you thought about Teen Challenge for your son? I t has helped many quit. The program combines discipline and Biblical principles. If he has the desire to change his life, it would surely be worth trying!

  10. nick schommer says:

    Catholic Charities seems to understand a deeper meaning of Charity.
    There but for grace go I.
    I am comforted that at the end of the line there is some compassion.

  11. Julie Jackson says:

    Of course you want an alcoholic to get help, but if they don’t want help, have tried rehab over and over, and they just can’t quit – how incredible for that person and their family to know their loved one has a warm and safe place to sleep. Imagine your loved one is an alcoholic and out on the streets tonight with -35 wind chill…do you want to find out days or weeks later they froze to death in an abandoned home, under a bridge, alone and then to wonder if anyone was with them, did someone steal what little they had left after they passed away. This is so much more humane than to have them live on the streets in fear and such a comfort to the families to know their loved one was safe, protected, and warm.

  12. Fred Crea says:

    Thank you for showing this enlightened program. it is a humane and practical way to deal with some of the people who cannot or do not want to stop drinking. There are and probably always have been some severely dependent souls. What is fascinating is that some cut down or even quit drinking when given permission to drink.

    1. Margaret J. says:

      Actually Fred, we need more of these facilities!!!! The courts and the system wastes so much money on so many of these chronic alcoholics by saying they need to go to treatment, commitment etc.

  13. Mikkel Beckmen says:

    Thank God for programs like this. They save tax payers money, provide some dignity, get drunks off the street and out of our hair, less trouble for the police who can fight crime etc. i hope support for these programs continues. i know that without it they would all go back to the streets, using the Emergency Room ($2,000 per night), Detox ($130 per night) crowd the shelters & jails. Alcoholism is a terrible, sad disease and sadly, not everyone stops drinking.

  14. Jay Z says:

    Catholic Charities should be promoting the preseveration of life not allowing someone to slowly kill themselves! As a recovering Alcoholic and Addict I find this to be an outrage! Someone with a history of suicide attempts would not be left alone with anything that they could use to kill themselves, so why is this OK?

    1. Hank Goodness says:

      Cancer treatments dont cure everyone, and neither do all substance abuse treatments. You cant save everyone, but you can sure help those that cant help them selves. Start 12 steppin brother, because but for the grace of God, there go you

    2. Richard says:

      I too am an alcoholic with decades of sobriety.
      Since when, or better yet, who told you that you could take someone else’s inventory?
      Congratulations on your sobriety. You are among the lucky. Not everyone is lucky. They still deserve a safe environment.
      If you don’t like this system and you believe you have the right to control one of these alkies lives, why don’t you get in your car, drive down to their location and volunteer to take one home to live with you?
      I didn’t think you would. So get real. They have gone through many, many, many treatments at $40,000 a copy; and they are not going to stop. They simply are not as lucky as you. What’s wrong with allowing them to live out their lives the best they can. It’s not YOUR ‘best’, but it is for each and every one of them.

    3. Joan Lee says:

      There is much talk about Catholic Charities funding this. This is erroneous. Ramsey county contributes 50%. The men who live there are also on taxpayer funded GMAC. Part of this goes to the home and the rest is taxpayer funded “spending money”. There is a hospice onsite at St Anthony’s where the residents go to die and they are allowed to drink there.

    4. Sandy says:

      Jay, remeber in the book it states that there are some unfortunates, well that is who we are talking aboutl. I also know of people that have gotten sober after living in St Anthony so it does serve a purpose.

  15. Ron B says:

    I find the whole thing perplexing. On one hand the kind thing to do is to give them aplace to drink and be relatively safe whil allowing them to die a slow death of their choosing. The other hand is this just another enabling thing to keep responsibilitt from being enforced.

    If Catholic Charities can get doantions and not take tax dollars for this program, God bless them and carry on.. However if this is being subsidized by the government in the form of taxation. THEN HELL NO!!

    The best answer to keep the drunks from freezing is to institute a new form of social program that involves a Bus ticket to s southern state and a firm promise of lengthy time spent in hard labor if they return to the state…

    Alcoholism is a “disease” or rather a mistress that one volunteers for. The bottle does not sneak up and ram itself down one’s throat….

    1. Richard says:

      Your comment, “Alcoholism is a “disease” or rather a mistress that one volunteers for. The bottle does not sneak up and ram itself down one’s throat….” obviously shows you have no idea what it’s all about.
      Let’s say it’s cancer instead of alcoholism. And let’s say it’s you, instead of them. And the doctor tries to stop the cancer and it’s too late. You lived a righteous life, you did the best you could, you weren’t perfect, but you kept trying. But it’s simple, you’re dying, slowly. How about we throw you out? We could pass judgment on you that you can’t contribute any longer. You had a few bucks in your life, but the last 4 surgical attempts on the cancer wiped that out, and now you need hospice or in-home health care. Should we turn our back on you also?
      Ron, there is no difference. You just had a good life, at least in your opinion. There are probably others who think you didn’t do as well as you should have. But they are not going to demand you die a painful death. Our society is going to do what it can to give you some comfort, no matter how you lived your life. If you don’t want to be part of such a society, then leave; but that’s how we do it here. I was a combat soldier in Vietnam. I saw and was part of some horrific events. But one thing we never did was leave someone behind. It was an oath to each other, an ethic. You would do well to learn what that means. Someday, all of us, including you, will need the support of those among whom we live. I’ve found over my 60 years of life, that in order for a person to walk away from another, they have to believe that other person is subpar in some respect. They are not. They just didn’t get the breaks that you did.
      Most of you conservatives like you claim to be ‘good christian people’. Your voice position seems to contradict the qualities of such beliefs. So which is it for you???

      1. Ron B says:

        I grew up with alcoholism in my family. i watched as my family and extended family sufferred from it and died from it. Some broke free from the mistress of the Bottle some embraced her and then died prematurely. Alcoholi is a mistress that takes over lives, it is bidden into your life and makes no effort to come in…

        I beg to disagree with you Richard. The “disease” begins as a choice in the heart to date this mistress and to take her home. If she is left to to do her will and allowed her free reign she kills.

        The problem with alcohol is that once it is removed from the alcoholics life and able to be kept away the alcoholic may recover. However there is a point of no return where the Mistress has destroyed the body to the point where there is no return and the alcoholic dies.

        This is not the case when these guys are being given a flop house supported tby taxpayers to slowly destropy themselves.. Unlike cancers Alcoholism can be cured. I have never met a cancer patient who kept coming back to the caner because it felt good….

        I said earlier it is a point of real perplexion.. Where do you draw the line on treating the afflicted and facilitating their demise as a in de facto accessory?

    2. edward oleander says:

      Ron, perhaps YOU should take a one-way bus trip…

  16. shane says:

    I can’t see myself agreeing with this at all I am a recovering alcoholic of over 3 years. I lost everything I had includeing my home but I found the AA program and it has done so much good in my life. These people living in this place know they should sober up to get there life back on track. All this place is doin is enableing them to drink they will never change now. There is reall help out there I’ve seen people I never thought would clean up become very succesful people. I believe its wrong to spend that much money to enable people to keep throughing there life away.

    1. Ron B says:

      I am glad you are on the way to recovery. It takes courage to admit it.. And motivation to do something about it. Keep it up and be well and may God Bless you…

      This “charity” s basically writing them off and denying these men a chance to be well again. This is just a slow death sentence imposed in the name of charity.

  17. antiidiot says:

    hello my friends thank you for being the first string of posts i have ever read on here where there isn’t one idiot. i kept reading these posts looking for the idiot because there is always one, but this is the first time there has been no idiot. i can’t believe it. maybe they are having a meeting on how to be more effective at ruining these comment boards attached to internet news postings.

  18. JMac says:

    You are so missing the point. This program is a great relief to so many. Cops are so tired of detoxing the same folks over and over. It was a costly cycle. And we are not talking about going and looking for them under bridges. It was calls to beaches in the morning, parks all day long. Passed out in the public restrooms or next to the wadding pools. Talking to the individuals, I learned they tried rehab and could not break their habits. Trust me, this was a great idea formed by the people on the front lines. And bless those employees at the wet houses, taking care of the sad realities and all the messes that family members are overwhelmed with. Kids should not be exposed to this.

  19. Tammie says:

    There are 2 kinds of alcoholics, chronic and abusers. Chronic = incurable. abuser = people that drink to get drunk and have a good time. The chronic alcoholics are the ones that will die. AA does not work, jail does not work. Nothing works because it is a disease in some people. Do you really think someone wants to be homeless? Sick all the time. This is not a joke. To a chronic alcoholic, their alcohol is what water is to a dog. They crave it and they have to have it.

    1. Looking says:

      Tammie, you read too much, but don’t think.

      1. Tammie says:

        @ Looking- Yeah I’ve probably spent a year at least reading on alcoholism because it has affected people in my family for years. And I do think. Anyone who thinks alcoholism is not a disease does not know what they are talking about. There are studies that are being done that are confirming that it is a disease (in some people). Why some people have a hard time believing that does bother me because I’ve been living with people my whole life that are affected with it. Most have died but there are others that will die. So for you to tell me I don’t think tells me that you are one of the ignorant ones when it comes to alcoholism.

  20. shane says:

    So wrong u don’t even know

    1. Tammie says:

      @ shane- what is so wrong?

  21. Suzanne Wilson says:

    I live with a chronic alcoholic. Nineteen treatment programs,living in halfway houses, attending AA meetings, losing jobs and eventually losing family has not been successful. I whole heartedly support the program I watched tonight. Being safe in a caring environment….priceless!

  22. Gin says:

    This report left me confused. I have a family matter that had many years of alcohol but never gave up on him. I wonder is this how it works for other addictions too. If one is using drugs or other, then it’s ok to supply the drugs. I understand the shelter and understanding but enabling the addiction seems wrong. Is there a limit to how much they can drink? It seems they are already physically and mentally disabled so we add to that pain. It leaves me saddened that their effort to make a few $ the only pay off would be a bottle.

  23. Monica Nilsson says:

    I have a suggestion. Support housing that people with a small income: a low paying job, $203 monthly state assistance or $674 if you have a permenant disability, can afford when they leave treatment at age 20, 25, 30. The youngest guy in that wet housing is 45. All too often, people graduate from treatment and aftercare and end up under a bridge, in a shelter or couch hopping. Imagine the success if, instead, we drove them from treatment to housing they could afford (and ideally gave them a bus card to get to church, to job interviews, to volunteer, to AA meetings. Instead, they end up in the pit of hell where survival is the only meaningful daytime activity and we’re disappointed that street medicine rears its ugly head. And imagine the women! 2 of the 4 sites in Minnesota don’t take women. It’s scary to think of the added cost (let alone trauma) a drunk woman alone on the street faces.

    1. Hank Goodness says:

      Catholic Charities has lots of supportive housing for men, women and children. Unfortunately these men dont qualify for that type of housing. How many times in these mens lives do you think that their family and friends have driven them to and from treatment and back home again, before thaey finally gave up and had to put them out of the house. Your idea is not a novel one and has been exhausted by everyone

  24. skeptical says:

    Is stealing and panhandling o.k?

  25. donald says:

    They don’t drink everyday, And I know that treatment doesn’t work for everyone, I know I’ve been in and out of 6 treatment houses, 20 half-way houses and board and lodges for over the past ten years and I still want to drink. If these kind of places run that cheaply, it sure would save the state a lot of money. Most of the people I’ve known in treatment centers go back to drinking or druging any how. I think the % of people that stay clean after treatment is only 5 out of 100, so I would think that there is a need for more of these places. The only true way to stop some of them from drinking is don’t give them any money, don’t let them get a job or collect any welfare and give them only food and a warm bed. I living in a board and lodge now and have no money so I haven’t had a drink in a year. And the state is paying $846.00 dollars a month for me to live here. I get 89.00 a month for personal needs, but have to pay over 69.00 for my deductible for my meds. You couldn’t get too drunk on 20.00 a month. plus they have rule were I live, no drinking is allowed. Hey if it’s stopping me why not others. And I smoke.

  26. IMaOnTheTake says:

    We should have death squads to relieve the homeless of their misery and free taxpayers from a counterproductive element.

    1. pretzeldude says:

      One wrong step or God removing grace from you then you would be one of those that were shot. THINK ABOUT YOUR STATEMENT

    2. Richard says:

      Hope you don’t get hit by a drunken driver, suffer a stroke, have a genetic timebomb reach activation time, or any of a slue of possibilities in this life, and find you are no longer able to ‘contribute’ to society. You will lose your income, your healthcare, your home, your possessions. It happens to us all in the end.
      But if it happens to you earlier in life, I don’t think you will have the same opinions.

    3. swmnguy says:

      Careful, “IMaOnTheTake.” This has been a pretty sincere thread. I don’t think most posters are going to appreciate the sarcasm.

      1. IMaOnTheTake says:

        Right, I was just kidding with an over the top, knee-jerk response: I was jesting!!. I’m all for giving them a place where they can be safe; Nobody did that for me when I was in the same position; I lost some friends to the streets because it was dangerous, doony smith was beaten to death under a bridge in Duluth, Darryl Lee, Donny’s cousin, was beaten to death in So Mpls while drinking, For some people alcoholism will be fatal and they will drink themselves, to death so it’s best to give them a place where they can extend their lives for a chance to rehab themselves if they choose. Good luck to them, I wish them well.

    4. Hank Goodness says:

      What about homeless children? Should we dispose of them to end your inconvience in life?

  27. Matt says:

    we need to try and respect the freedom of choice wherever possible (within reason). Having said that, I feel this is an alternate (possibly superior) way of handling our society’s hopeless alcoholics… Yes there are hopeless alcoholics out there we can not fix. Think about it? How do we generally handle it now? They’re just gonna drink – so once we swallow that fact we may as well monitor it and keep it out of our hospitals and detox centers. Dignity was gone long before arrival to the place mentioned. I see a savings – what about you? I hate liberal programs but this makes sense…

    1. brian bakken says:

      recovering alcoholic myself,I agree with this concept,I at one point in my life almost gave up,been through hell and back over and over again,many treatments,detoxes,jails,I felt death nearing,along with a numbness in my forehead,,witch I thought was the start of a wet brain,I was able to stop,6 years later I am loving life,and almost like alcohol never happened,I am one of the lucky ones,I understand what goes through the mind of a alcoholic,,If they choose to do this to themselves,at least keep them out of harms way,

  28. johandix says:

    The death squad comment is completely disrespectful to families of alcoholics who have tried everything they can to help a family member. Ignorance comes to mind. Alcoholism IS an Iillness that is terminal. If one of your family members had cancer and refused chemo and could be helped would the death squad idea be appropriate. A cancer patient that has denied any help or treatment always has the option of hospice. It is funded many times by insurance etc. My God what are people thinking offering these terminally ill people a comfortable surrounding when they could possibly have helped themselves. My father was a good man worked as a principal of schools for many years was very respected and paid taxes his entire life. At some point the alcohol consumed him. My father shot himself in a lonely dark motel room one week after being at my home. I only wish that he would have had a 10 x 10 that he felt he could have gone to. No it’s not hospice but it is not dying alone. God forbid that ignorance will ever have to guide you through a situation like this.

  29. George says:

    IMaOnTheTake would have had the admiration of Adolf Hitler.

  30. Fatima Namoc says:


    1. Richard says:

      I hate to tell you, but by this point in their journeys, they all have criminal records. It goes with the territory.
      If you are afraid the program will run out of money, … send them a little. It doesn’t take much from a lot of people. You don’t have to be catholic. You just have to be human.

      1. Lee says:

        Ha, yet another free pass from Richard! It’s ok to be a criminal if you’re an alcoholic or a drug attic. It is expected of you. Don’t worry, here’s $10, get yourself another hit. By the way, Mr. Righteous, you are responsible every time one of these guys overdose and die.

  31. johandix says:

    GREAT response….

  32. johandix says:

    Should have stated; GREAT response George….

  33. Samantha Villagomez says:

    Now what about the women ?Is there a side where women sleep alcholics.women alcholics are more like to get sexually abused .Women alcholics need a safe place to drink there golden years away TOO.Allthis for men there are women alcholics.The women need a nice careing place .Women are not second class humanbeings.Give all options to the men .WE are the weaker sex more so when we’re stoned cold drunk.Do something!

    1. edward oleander says:

      Samantha, there are 3 facilities like St. A in the Twin Cities. One is run by the same vendor who runs Henn County Detox, and that one has female residents. There are also a couple female -only shelters where being intoxicated will not get you tossed out, although the rules prohibit bring alcohol onto the premises. Henn. County Detox is a coed unit where just over 20% of the beds are on a locked female-only wing. More info on programs for women can be found through Sharing & Caring Hands (Mary Jo Copeland) or the Dorothy Day centers. ~Ed (Detox nurse)

  34. cindy says:

    Listen to the story again all of you thinking Catholic charities is footing the bill. It says state,county and private funding.
    I agree the concept of these places ifsOK, all you family members so thankful, all you people in agreement, start sending your money straight there to help fund them. It should be a choice not an obligation to be funding this. If everyone expressing their agreement with this sent money I am guessing they would be funded. Bet you won’t though. It’s easy to express ideals, not as easy for all to to “put your money where your mouth is”.
    If it only costs $42 a day oer oerson for a bed,roof and food, what is detox providing other than a whole lot of overhead, any different from this. Why would it cost so much more? Any body else wonder why that’s ok.

    1. edward oleander says:

      Cindy – I’m a nurse at one of those detox units. Our public Detox’s are medically based facilities that take some of the pressure off the hospital Emergency Rooms. They are not just “3 hots and a cot” places to sober up, and they are not long-term housing, both of which can be run cheaper than our unit. We provide skilled medical care so that the ones who have seizures, withdrawal, and even mild DT’s will be less a burden to taxpayers. We also try to get our clients hooked up with treatment, or housing, or job placement, or whatever else we can do to try and reduce the harm they do to themselves, and the burden their alcoholism places on society. Detox acts as a last safety net, and is far cheaper than the ER… ~Ed, RN

    2. Alison says:

      As one of the “‘family members so thankful” I’m certain you are referring to in your message I say this… I am thankful. I do donate. I do volunteer. I work and pay taxes as well. Can you honestly say that you know without a doubt there is not a single person in your family or a friend that has ever needed assistance of some sort. More than likely you’ve had a family member or friend that has been in detox, been arrested, etc.
      When you get down to brass tacks the point is that not a single human on the face of the earth should suffer or be treated inhumanely.
      Shame on you for singling myself and my family out in your message and accuse us of not caring or contributing.

  35. iconoclast says:

    I saw this story and it broke my heart. That’s all I can say. I don’t agree at all with this. If you are going to let them medicate let them use something less dangerous like cannabis. Alcohol is a nasty nasty drug.

  36. hejlena says:

    @RonB “This “charity” s basically writing them off and denying these men a chance to be well again. This is just a slow death sentence imposed in the name of charity”

    and letting them freeze to death on the streets is not writing them off and denying them a chance to be well?

    I appreciate the (mostly) grown-up level of discussion and respect on this thread. Rare here. (That’s not a slam on Ron).

    Richard–I would wonder too if there is a plan in the works for a similar place for single women in the chronic fatal stages?

    Are there twelve-step meetings available on-site? How many? Other spiritual resources?

    I believe, and have seen, some people enter recovery from the chronic and fatal stages of alcoholism. However, one will have an extremely hard time addressing and meeting their spiritual needs when their most pressing need is for survival and the most basic of human needs–shelter, food, warmth.

    Richard–Any efficacy or recidivism studies in the works?

    1. Ron b says:

      That is where my plan of a ONE WAY bus ticket to somewhere warm comes in. BYE BYE Drunken bums.. Problem solved. They wont be freezing and sucking off of the taxpayers in other states!!

      It is high time to call them what they are, DRUNKEN BUMS!! The one thing that causes BUMS to flee is WORK!! Give them the ONE WAY bus ticket with a genuine certainty that if they return they will be sentenced to HARD LABOR!!!

      1. edward oleander says:

        Hejlena, please see my response to Cindy above regarding female facilities.

        Ron – I have to believe you’re just being a troll to see how many flames you can ignite. Your position is so totally unrealistic, at EVERY level, that no rational person would seriously suggest it. I’m sure your childhood Legos are still there with you in your parents basement… Please go play with them instead…

      2. Ron says:

        I am Just sick and damn tired of having my hard earned money being siezed by the government , using the force of law to coerce me to support some deadbeats. Call it what you want.

        All of these guys volunteered for these life decisions. Why am i asked to be generous to give them a place to stay, be drunk, useless and ect..

        A one way bus ticket to someplace warm so they do not freeze is more than compassionate enough…

        I dont have the luxury of failure as a option. I have a family that depends on me. irregardless how much I would love to crack a bottle of vodka and get stinko..

        The whole issue is a matter of internal discipline…. Do you really know what makes me mad? MAGGOTS who crawl into my wallet to consume my hard earned money so they feel like they are doing something, Maybe we should all go down to NAMBY PAMBY LAND and Go get ourselves a double helping of mental self gratification. Perhaps it is high damn time that these pathetic JACKWAGONS get over their cases of RECTAL CRAINIAL inversion. Perhaps some of these derelicts are truly happy drinking themselves into oblivion. It would be cheaper still to contract with the ethanol plants to buy their ethanol and give each deadbeat bum a gallon of it til they are all playing patty cake with the Grim reaper…

        Just my 2 cents worth…

      3. John Barleycorn says:

        Ron b, you are one of the most brain dead people on here

  37. Patrick Bayle says:

    We live in a society where the debate is about the price of dignity for a fellow human? I have been sober for 7 years. Most of the people I went to treatment with are dead or using. Alcoholism is one of the misunderstood diseases we have. Billions have been spent on different modalities and approaches to “cure” us. Yet it remains resistent. If these men and women had cancer would we support simple housing for them? This debate is not about the dollars or the right or wrong of this approach, the debate is about our humanity. Does anyone out there think that any of the clients of this facility decided when they were 10 years old that living in a place like this was thier life goal. Wake up people, life has NO price too high. By the way, every once in a while one of these guys gets out of bed and says “I want help to stop drinking” I am one of them.

    1. Joel M says:

      Kuddos Patrick!
      A day at a time or a minute … matters not how it’s approaced or done. A simple day sober is truly priceless.. Good luck on the journey my friend.

  38. Karen says:

    If you care about people, I believe this program is worth contributing to finacially and with your time!

    I have worked as a social worker for 20 years-the past years in inner city Mpls.

    I was not familiar with this program until last week. I met one of my clients at another one of the Catholic Charities Programs-not Safe Haven as featured in this article, but one of the others just like it.

    I had to wait for my client as he was not there when I first arrived. I spent 30 minutes in the lobby and observed what went on.
    I was so impressed with the staff. They really care about the people they serve. There are rules to follow and the staff sees that the rules are followed. They are directive with the people, but in a very respectful, caring, and fun manner.

    I came home that evening and told my husband that this is a program worth us contributing to financially. As a social worker, I don’t have alot of money but as noted in the previous posting..every bit helps.

    There are many issues related to alcoholism and addiction. For many people it is complicated by other health issues including a mental health diagnosis.

    Believe me…I see government waste and fraud on a weekly basis. Starting with individuals, agencies, and the system as a whole. This is a whole other issue…Doing the right thing and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars is difficult.
    Sometimes the fraud and abuse one sees and the entitlement attitude gets to almost be too much. Some days I just feel like throwing up my hands and saying, I am done.

    Not so with this program…Thanks Catholic Charities for your work. Seeing this program in action last week was a “breath of fresh air for me”..
    Also as noted, this program relies on private contributions..not just government money. That is how many social programs started-at churches or other local organizations. I believe that is the direction we need to move back to instead of relaying more and more on state and federal government to care for our families and neighbors.

    1. cindy says:

      Where will the tolerance stop? Humane is great. Being humane doesn’t cost money, it’s a trait. I believe most people writing here are humane. The main argument against the cost…is humanity. All of you preaching humanity, are you willing to tolerate houses set up for heroin ,meth, crack,etc. addicts? As soon as we tolerate a little, we get stuck with ALOT. I believe those writing with such big hearts would actually have limits at some point. Is that when you should no longer be considered humane either?

      1. Jeff Hamell says:

        Aaaah Cindy …. lets pretend you have a child. He/she is an abuser. Let’s say chemicals but it could be sexual, or into physical abuse of others, or you get to name it.
        Something in the brain is wired wrong and malfunctions. Many want to “run into” this person on a cold dark night. You no longer can or want him/her in your home either as he/she has abused you or others in your family.
        You want a place for him/her? Or would you prefer he/she dies on the street?
        Tolerance and a place to sleep. Think about it eh

      2. Hey there >> says:

        @cindy mainly.

        tolerance. hmmmmmm. where does it ever end? maybe the question better asked is why should it ever end for a fellow human? and if you think it should would you be the one to pull the trigger?
        just wondering aloud is all

      3. cindy says:

        I am not the one pulling a trigger. They decided that somewhere in their life. Don’t now blame others for their death sentence. Remember that is what the story was about. THEY decided their death sentence. How much do we tolerate for that decision with which somewhere along their life THEY made. I agree it is a disease, it is an addiction for any other disease or addiction, most seek professional help. I am all for that. Those that don’t…..are we all responsible. Those refering to Cancer being like this…..I am not so sure you should label it in a same category. Most do nothing that become attacked by cancer. Remember I said Most not all. These guys, somewhere along their lives, did something that has landed them here.

      4. edward oleander says:

        Cindy, again you’re not seeing the reality of the program. Alcoholism is so pervasive in our society that these programs, in the real world, save money just through the reduction of ER use, let alone the smaller savings to the courts, police and other government agencies that deal with homeless/addicted populations. The reason we don’t see the same systems for crack, heroin, or meth use is the differing scale of use, and the differing effects these addictions produce (which make such facilities less practical). ~Ed, RN

  39. Mark says crappola at Jay Z says:

    Well stated Richard … I tip my hat to you.
    34 years of sobriety here. I’ve known and been around many many wonderful people who failed…time and time and time again.
    There is a certain person who cannot or will not stop. I’m starting to lean more on the genetic makeup flaw we all have to a degree – they just are not as fortunate or lucky as many of us.
    I have no problem with this as there sometimes just is not another solution.

    @Jay Z – maybe back up a bit in your recovery and smell the coffee again.

  40. Lee says:

    ONLY $42/ day? This is why I hate living in Minnesota! I work 65 hours a week and my wife works 40 hours a week to barely scrape by paying our bills. I calculate my family out just under $38 a day. Why the heck am I forced to pay for people who have given up on themselves to live a richer lifestyle than my family? When will you people wake up? Either you don’t work, or you don’t recognize that these programs are what rape your paychecks every week. Do you realize that you are having the first $3,000 of every $10,000 you make stolen right out of your paycheck? Plus every single thing you purchase adds to that! Of our $77k of income last year, $21k went straight to taxes. I sure as heck did not receive $21k worth of benefit from this government last year. Wake up people, stop voting all this crap in and start making people accountable for their actions. It is only your fault if you find yourself in this situation. What type of society can survive when there is a large group feeling sorry for themselves and a larger group allowing them to do so? I know, I’ve heard it a million times, well are you just going to let them dye? No, most people who receive all of my money are making choices ON THEIR OWN which lead to them being in the situation they are in, while the rest of us are forced to support those bad choices with our paychecks. Why is this so hard for Americans to figure out? Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day, teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. Everyone has the same opportunity to PURSUE the American dream. Nobody has the right to it. If you want to help the homeless, or welfare dependent people in this country, then stop setting the bar so low for them. Stop giving them our money, it will suck for them for a while, but in the end, they will have to strive to provide for themselves. What incentive does Junior have to live a productive life when he grew up watch Mom sit around the house doing nothing but making babies and collecting welfare checks? There is absolutely no company in the world that gives you a check for doing nothing (except the government), why do we need to pay for these people to do nothing. At least get them out cleaning our streets or parks or something, anything. There are a million things we could have them doing and in the end, they would either hate it so much they decide to get a job, or they would learn something from it and be able to receive free training while doing it. The gravy train needs to stop now!

    1. TWeber says:

      Supported by Catholic Charities… not your tax dollars. If you don’t want to pay for it, don’t donate to this charity.

      1. cindy says:

        TWeber, you need to listen to the story again. Towards the end they state it is funded by State, County and private funding.

    2. csemgrpjb says:

      Hey Lee, What is the exact number you are willing to put on a life, think about your family, how much of your tax dollars is your Dad worth? How about Mom or the kids? God forbid anything happens that causes you to be incapable of supporting yourself. What then Lee? Please give me an exact price you are willing to put on a human life.

  41. Joel M says:

    Many decades of sobriety here myself.
    I’m now old enough, I hope wise enough (some would disagree), and have definetly seen enough to know there is a certain individual that you cannot keep sober. It could be genetic flaw for all I know but it is real.
    I feel damn fortunate in my life to be where I am. I’ve worked hard to sustain a sober soul. I am LUCKY.
    I think this is a means that has to be out there for some and I say thanks to all that are involved in providing this. No doubt it will rattle a few minds but my bet is they mostly have not been there themselves.

  42. T. says:

    THIS IS THE POWER OF ADDICTION. It’s not pretty and it never will be. To a chronic alcoholic in constant decline, alternatives are few or none. Catholic Charities see this miserable life for what it really is. Drink to survive and eventually die outside in a cold Minnesota winter. That is all it takes to understand the need for a place like this.

  43. Paula says:

    I think that this program is wonderful. Alcoholism is a disease, just like a cancer, or any other life threatening illness. We have hospice care for our dying. These people also need to have some dignity in their end of life journey.

  44. Howie T says:

    This is great thing in every manner for all. I had a cousin who is gone …. died alone in a fire. He may have started a fire for warmth – we’ll never know for sure. It was 15 degrees when they found him.
    Maybe something like this could have prvented that or saved his life? Hard to say. What I do know is he was in treatment centers all the time for better than 20 years to no avail. He’d try to overcome the disease and did well for awhile at times. Just couldn’t do it for long.
    BTW – he was scary bright. IQ was 176. So all types of people battle the booze and drug thing I know

    1. Iconoclast says:

      Sorry about your cousin Howie. Sometimes that High IQ can be a curse. You tend to feel awfully alone and it’s also difficult to deal with the lameness of everyday life when you can imagine better ways to do everything. Ignorance is bliss.

  45. Richard W. says:

    This is a complex issue. In 1994, a study was conducted through a grassroots organization made up of the Mpls Police SAFE Unit, Minnesota and Hennepin Prevention Resources, RS Eden Programs, and other service organizations. We investigated the high incidence of Detox and inapproriate ER vists made up of the chronic alcoholic popualtion in Minneapolis. The intent of the group later coined Non Beverage Alcohol, was to restrict the sales of alcohol products purchased in groceries 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. An example of NBA products is mouthwash. It could be bought in dollar stores, and has high Alcohol content. This ended the era of the “from wine to mouthwash.” A story I had written explaining the fortification of wines, had actually limited its sales. As the story unfolded, the study was later taken to another level of rstriction of sales to the same hours as would be regular liquor sales. We looked at major corridors in Minneapolis that had high incidence of crimes, and high profile mega markets. Unfortunately the study ran aground when civil liablities threatened the meager assetts of our NBA group. (which was none) I for one do not believe in giving up on our chronic alcoholic population. Our chronic population are all human beings, frought with an illness, and ought be treated continuously. While some legistaltures will argue we don’t see Cancer patients being arrested for DWI’s, alcoholism is an illness. All illness’s come at the vulnerability of human beings.

  46. Iconoclast says:

    A thought just hit me. Do they, by chance, minister to these people?If these people appear to want to die I guess Catholic Charities might be tempted to do some “soul saving”. I don’t really agree with that either. Seems wrong.

  47. Aimee says:

    Hi All- I am not even going to begin to have a discussion about wether or not homes like these should be funded with public money or not…. sometimes my mind and my heart are not on the same page….this is just my story, unfortunately. Outside of Catholic Charities-the funding comes from the individual in the home who is receiving assistance in the first place. In this specific case, my father had County Assistance which afforded him the St. Anthony house but it couldn’t afford him a better life, sadly. Our Govt. continues to pass out money to “undeserving” people everywhere…there are worse ways our money is being spent. I am so grateful for the opportunity my father had at the St. Anthony house! I can only hope that other people can find peace as I have with their loved ones addictions and just hope and pray that whatever money it takes they can have the best alternative to what we without addictions know as life. I am confident that since my father went into the St. Anthony house and wasn’t on the streets any longer, he gained hope, had meals and care, started to drink less being that the environment was controlled and was communicating with me. I honestly feel his best life was lived while he was there. Each of the people at the house are assigned to case workers who help them function. I have been told that my father was improving prior to his own fathers passing a few months ago. Knowing this gives me hope for others that arrive at the St. Anthony home. My prayers were answered in a very weird way when I received the phone call about my father’s passing. As devasting as it is still today, because of the St. Anthony Res. my father died best case scenario for his lifestyle. He was comfortable, I think each one of us would want that for ourselves and for our loved ones no matter the cause of death and what the expense was or even where the funds came from. All of the funds from the Memorial for my Father will be sent directly to the St. Anthony Res. I hope this helps all of us to understand that families need these homes regardless of the expense… I just can’t believe that this is even controversial being that we don’t really have a say as to how our money gets spent once it goes out of our paychecks anyway. I make regular donations into misc charities, salvation army pots, jars on counters, church etc… not having any idea of where that money actually goes. I just do it because I have a heart and hope that it can help anyone…no matter the addition or problem. Let’s take money out of the conversation and see the help the homes like St. Anthony provides to people who are not as fortunate as you and I. It doesn’t matter how we feel about the problem, if it’s a disease or not, these people are stricken with a problem they can’t find their way out of and the people in their lives couldn’t fix them… its doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get help. For most of the people in the St. Anthony House its more than they have received in years! I have one more comment and it’s not an argument,more of a challenge… if we don’t want our dollars being sent to homes such as these… I challenge each of us to donate our time by volunteering at one of them to help those you feel are fixable. I will see you there!

    Inclosing I would like to say thank you to all of you for feeling something… one way or the other you allowed my story into your life. Its people like you who feel passionate (either way) that keep me motivated.

    Rest in peace Father! I am glad you are at your final destination. Your life the way it was has FINALLY shown me a purpose and has directed me to focus volunteering efforts that help people who suffer from addictions, any type. I will not be close minded or angry with them as I was with you for 30/32 years of my life. Thank you for teaching me something, albeit a little bit too late….

    1. csemgrpjb says:

      Aimee, you honor your Fathers life with this. I lost my father to this illness as well. I work every day to help people like our dads and there is no higher calling I can think of than to care for our brothers and sisters. May you always be peaceful.

    2. david steen says:

      aimee,i to knew ralph,grew up a few blocks away,played hockey baseball etc. with him.a lot of fun memories with him.i know the loss of his father hit him hard.a lot of people on rice st. will miss him

      1. Aimee says:

        Thank you David!

  48. blank says:

    I fully understand a persons need for dignity as wll as a safe, warm place to live. But if you choose to live a lifestyle like that..ruin your life, credit, relationships and cannot hold down a job. Then giving you a handout and using taxpayer dollars to support you to me is ridiulous. There are families out there and children without a place to live and maybe cannot find room at a shelter, but you as an alcoholic have your own shelter to go to and stay. Guess we should tell those familes to start drinking. Like I said, its one thing to offer a person some help its another to provide them with room and board and let them contiue to self distruct. C’mon people. your not saving them, you are enabling them. How can they hit rock bottom when they have shelter, food and they can still drink. Next there will be a place like this for addicts who can shoot up on the back porch.

    1. Hank Goodness says:

      Blank, Nobody CHOOSES this life, nor do they CHOOSE to be an Alcoholic. Get your facts straight . Have you ever heard anyone wanting to grow up and be a homless alcoholic with no familiy, friends, job. The only rock bottom for these guys now is death. Catholic charities is not trying to save them, they are giving human beings something to eat and a warm place to sleep. When was the last time you visited a homeless shelter or helped a homeless person. And hopefully the addicts wont be shooting up on your back porch, because if it wasnt for places like St Anthony residence, these guys might be drinking on your porch and passed out on your lawn.

    2. Tossed at blank says:

      you don’t seem to get it blank …. some folks don’t get to “choose”. Not unlike a cancer victim or a stroke victim. It is a disease that’s in some cases doesn’t seem to have a cure.
      I been a sponsor for years to many – it’s the rare person that chooses to be a drunk. It’s not fun, not pretty, not easy. It’s called being alone inside mostly – horrific way to exist.

  49. Michele says:

    Lee you are a jerk as are some of the rest of you. Yes re-read the article THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE CURED AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS ARE….”THEY DON’T WANT TO BE CURED!!!!” We as a society and people/person are not enableing them, you enable by ignoring the problem and thinking and pushing and hoping they will get sober some do a lot of others do not. I am grateful that some of them have found a safe place to spend their remaining days.

    1. Lee says:

      Sorry you think I am a jerk, but the simple fact remains, giving someone the resources to make a bad decision is never going to help. Do you give a murderer a gun on his way through the cell door? Do you give a suicidal person a razor blade? Why would you give an alcoholic or drug attic the money to go purchase booze or drugs? The logic is so backwards I can’t even fathom how anyone cannot see the results of this. I am not oblivious to the problems of drugs and alcohol, and I am not ignoring it either. I might even have more experience in this world than most of the people posting. It doesn’t matter. This jerk has himself beaten his addiction and helped over a dozen other people beat theirs. You know something, none of them succeeded with the people that supposedly love them giving them a free pass for the choices they make. If you want to get past an addiction, you need to face up to it and realize that every time you take a drink or a hit or whatever you are doing, YOU are the one making that choice. There is nobody that makes you do this. It hurts to admit that you are the person that put yourself in that situation, but the only way you are ever going to take the initiative to own up to your mistakes is with a swift kick in the butt from someone who loves you. I have never seen anyone get past an addiction with the support group around them contributing to the addiction. It’s tough love, yes. I am sorry to say this but there are a few common factors in the people who do not succeed, the people who “love” them have found peace in the fact that the addict has a warm bed and food. Don’t blame me for a person who dies in this situation if you were not there for them when they needed you. Each of us has a responsibility to step up and kick our loved one in the butt when it needs a kicking, not the government. I cannot foresee a situation where I would be satisfied letting my parent, child, sibling or friend live a life in which they do not see they have complete control of every aspect of their life. I would feel guilt for my remaining days knowing that I let them down because I didn’t want to give the extra effort it took to make a person see that they have complete control of their choices. There is not a single addict or drunk that wants to continue the “lifestyle” they have chosen for themselves, at least none that I have met. All addicts and alcoholics hit the same bottom; nobody is more addicted than the next. It takes hard work and a support cast of loved ones to get past it, not free money. I have watched so many people get over addictions of all kinds, there is no way you will ever convince me that any addiction is a disease, or any person is predetermined to live a certain lifestyle. It takes HARD WORK. I am sorry if I sound like a jerk, but I hope you people will wake up to the fact that the people in your life who are addicted need you to get out of the lifestyle they chose for themselves. Throwing money at a problem may help with the guilt you feel for abandoning them, but I assure you it does nothing to help them get past the addiction. The problems they are dealing with do not go away because they have a warm bed and food, they still lay in that warm bed with a full belly and realize that their loved ones don’t care about them anymore. Face up to it and demand to know what your loved one is running from, and then, deal with that problem, and leave the rest of society out of it.

      1. Aimee says:

        Thank you for your thoughts on my story Lee… For along time I thought the same way you do currently. In my story specifically, my Father didnt tell people where he was, how to contact him and didnt take any help… because he didnt want any help and he didnt want anyone to stop him from his drinking. Being a drunk was the lifestyle he preffered.. and he found all the resources to feed his addition on his own. Because of that he became a hopeless homeless and still found the resources to continue down this dark path. I cant tell you why but I wish that I could. Like a person who has cancer may choose to end chemo treatments because they no longer have the will to fight….thats the same choice a chronic alcoholic has, to quit fighting. Either one provides a death sentence. We all have choices that we are entitled to make despite what every one else thinks… both a chronic alcoholic and the cancer patient made the same choice…to die… to me its not about the money, its the principal, any person that wants to loose a battle should have a safe place to go to do so. Because of the additcion my father had I didnt have a relationship with him. I knew that he lived on the streets for a long time and as I got older I started to wait for the phone call to hear he was murdered, froze to death etc… all the worse case scenarios. After all what type of good call would I get? Then I began to wonder would I even get a phone call? How would they know who he was when they found him dead? Would he ever be found if he died lonely on the streets? I bet you can imagine one of the above calls being pretty devasting I hope… thats why I said I found peace in the fact that my father died in a bed. I did, its one of things that I will forever be gratful for! To learn of anyone dying in any of the above ways breaks my heart and because of that I am thankful for the Wet House… my father was my father, he made horrible choices and I am not in any way defending those choices and I hated him for 30 years. Once he went into the St. Anthony house he had a place to call home, food to eat, personal care, responsibilities and was safe… because of these things that were available to him he seen a little glimpse of the better life…I feel he was heading in the right direction and that was confirmed from the police officer who was told by my fathers case worker. Maybe my father didnt go there just to die…maybe he went there 3/4 dead and was tyring to turn around…then my fathers father passed away and that is where my father gave up the fight. I am glad you had people in your life that were able to help you and also that you were willing to get the help…not everyone wins like you did! Not every alcoholic like yourself will submit to the demands you speak of. I hope you never end up in a position like myself to be grateful for a place like a Wet House!

        All the memorials from my fathers passing will be sent directly to the St. Anthony home. His clothing and belongings have all been donated to the home as well. I challenge you to reach out, help these people whos family more than likely doesnt have any idea about where their alcoholic loved one is…. its not as simple as demanding.

        You and I both have a choice at how to look at this story… maybe the intent was to create awareness of the house and its need for more money donations. If its philosophy received more compassion from people there wouldnt be a need for the county funding. Is it about the money or is it about the lack of compassion you have for people such as my father? Either way, I get it…like I said in an earlier post…. my heart and my mind are not always on the same page. Its just my story.

  50. M says:

    Lee you are a jerk as are some of the rest of you. Yes re-read the article THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE CURED AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS ARE….”THEY DON’T WANT TO BE CURED!!!!” We as a society and people/person are not enableing them, you enable by ignoring the problem and thinking and pushing and hoping they will get sober some do a lot of others do not. I am grateful that some of them have found a safe place to spend their remaining days.

  51. Nancy Steen McDonough says:

    Aimee, sorry for your loss. Your dad was a good person. i’ve known him for over 40 years. For those of you that don’t know Ralph don”t pass judgement.You have no clue or right. Rest In Peace Ralph.

  52. blank says:

    wow HANK GOODNESS…..take it easy. I know exactly what alcoholism is as i grew up with it in my family. I also have a sister who is an addict. People “do not choose to be alcoholics” Think again. Sure they do. There just happen to be alot of people who have more of a chance at becoming one whether their parents or other family members were one or their enviornment they live in. No one forced them to continue drinking or take a drink in the first place. God didn’t say hey, lets make sure this guy is an acoholic. God actually gave us free will to make choices with our life. An acoholic is one because they choose to not see reality and get help. Its unfortunate. My money can be better used then being given to people who “want” to die. If we want to help these people then sending them to treatment or detox is a better idea. But no, lets make a place where they can have free food and shelter and continue to drink. If a person really wanted help and didn’t want to be an alcoholic then this would be the last place that would go. Alcoholism is a terrible disease that I get. But this place is not an answer for it. Go to a treatmemnt center or maybe some AA meetings HANK..everyone has their own rock bottom there is no specific definition for that. But if an alcoholic/addict is given a place to live, food and they can still drink there….that is clearly far away from a persons rock bottom.

    1. Tossing again at blank says:

      Like I said blank …. you just don’t get it. Maybe your sis falls into that 1% or so that “choose” but I suspect not. Instead that’s how you desire to see it as things have failedfor you all. For that I am sorry – but don’t lay this “choose” thing on the ground as it is nonsense. 😉

    2. Hank Goodness says:

      You say you grew up with it, not that you were strickenwith the “gift”of alcoholism like myself. So unless you have walkes one step in the shoes of a struggling alcoholic, then you could not even begin to understand the turmoil tha goes on in our mind. I fortunately was given another gift of recovery, and still struggle not to take that drink. People walk out of treatment everyday after spending 20 grand or so and piss it away on a drink.

    3. Hank Goodness says:

      Blank, You said you grew up with it, not that you are an alcoholic. So you couldnt possibly understand the grip that alcohol has on an alcoholic. Your delusions of grandeur are remarkable. By the way I am an alcoholic in recovery and no full well about treatment and AA

  53. Clint Make My Day wants Lee says:

    Lee – you are a fricken idiot. Sorry – a fricken imbecile. Hate to sound harsh but you indeed are truly a stupid SOB.
    There – I said it. You made my day by showing how dumb some can be. 😉

  54. blank says:

    There are plenty or psychological and mental issues that go along with be an addict. READ my comment again. I explained i understand alot of things that go along with alcoholism as i have numerouis uncles and a grandfather who suffered from it. But if in the end it was a matter of dying or living…and you continue to drink then dying may be what you get. That is all a choice. My sister i san addict because she likes to get high and chooses to do that instead of taking the treatment seriously and wanting to change. She lost everything as a result. Had she chose to get sober that may not have happened. Alot of the comments above state that there are people who will never change and plenty who do not want to. That is clearly a choice.

  55. Aimee says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on my story Lee… For along time I thought the same way you do currently. In my story specifically, my Father didnt tell people where he was, how to contact him and didnt take any help… because he didnt want any help and he didnt want anyone to stop him from his drinking. Being a drunk was the lifestyle he preffered.. and he found all the resources to feed his addition on his own. Because of that he became a hopeless homeless and still found the resources to continue down this dark path. I cant tell you why but I wish that I could. Like a person who has cancer may choose to end chemo treatments because they no longer have the will to fight….thats the same choice a chronic alcoholic has, to quit fighting. Either one provides a death sentence. We all have choices that we are entitled to make despite what every one else thinks… both a chronic alcoholic and the cancer patient made the same choice…to die… to me its not about the money, its the principal, any person that wants to loose a battle should have a safe place to go to do so. Because of the additcion my father had I didnt have a relationship with him. I knew that he lived on the streets for a long time and as I got older I started to wait for the phone call to hear he was murdered, froze to death etc… all the worse case scenarios. After all what type of good call would I get? Then I began to wonder would I even get a phone call? How would they know who he was when they found him dead? Would he ever be found if he died lonely on the streets? I bet you can imagine one of the above calls being pretty devasting I hope… thats why I said I found peace in the fact that my father died in a bed. I did, its one of things that I will forever be gratful for! To learn of anyone dying in any of the above ways breaks my heart and because of that I am thankful for the Wet House… my father was my father, he made horrible choices and I am not in any way defending those choices and I hated him for 30 years. Once he went into the St. Anthony house he had a place to call home, food to eat, personal care, responsibilities and was safe… because of these things that were available to him he seen a little glimpse of the better life…I feel he was heading in the right direction and that was confirmed from the police officer who was told by my fathers case worker. Maybe my father didnt go there just to die…maybe he went there 3/4 dead and was tyring to turn around…then my fathers father passed away and that is where my father gave up the fight. I am glad you had people in your life that were able to help you and also that you were willing to get the help…not everyone wins like you did! Not every alcoholic like yourself will submit to the demands you speak of. I hope you never end up in a position like myself to be grateful for a place like a Wet House!

    All the memorials from my fathers passing will be sent directly to the St. Anthony home. His clothing and belongings have all been donated to the home as well. I challenge you to reach out, help these people whos family more than likely doesnt have any idea about where their alcoholic loved one is…. its not as simple as demanding.

    You and I both have a choice at how to look at this story… maybe the intent was to create awareness of the house and its need for more money donations. If its philosophy received more compassion from people there wouldnt be a need for the county funding. Is it about the money or is it about the lack of compassion you have for people such as my father? Either way, I get it…like I said in an earlier post…. my heart and my mind are not always on the same page. Its just my story.

  56. sw says:

    Obviously Lee does NOT know what it is like to experience a terrible trauma as a child, or to be alone without a support system. Sometimes people turn to drugs or alcohol because they are trying to cover up pain in their past – pain they do not want to remember and when they drink or use drugs it relieves their pain so they continue on the path until they become addicted. Some people have no one to help or support them. I knew of someone who was a terrible alcoholic that everyone had given up on. I chose to help this person and drove this person to every AA meeting he had to go to. This person got their license back after many years of riding a bike. This person got a better job. This person got better. I have heard that this person drinks every now and then but fully supports himself and never drinks and drives and also does not drink himself into oblivion. This person had no support group until I became some sort of support for him. I don’t know why I did this but I felt no one cared about this person. There are many more like him out there without any help. So Lee, don’t judge a person until you know their entire story.

    1. young days behind me says:

      Nope and it also seems Lee has a mindset that is cast in concrete so it’s not even worth debating with him.
      So let’s just pass on him and talk to rational folks. lol

      1. Lee says:

        Aimee, sorry if I am coming off as a jerk. I truly understand your point of view. It will not change mine and it seems like you understand that too.
        SW, if you read what I wrote you can see that you echoed exactly what I suggested and it worked out for the person you helped. You were the “loved” one that kicked him in the butt and dragged him to the AA to make sure he got past it. I am not saying don’t help them, I am saying the exact opposite, help, please do, but throwing money at a broken system is no better than ignoring it altogether. The difference between my view and yours is that I look at addiction as treatable and you look at it as a death sentence.
        I would like to think more of a person than he has this problem and he can’t be cured, so let’s make him comfortable on his way out. They are not going to St. Anthony to die. I can’t imagine how to justify comparing an addiction with a terminal disease.
        Yes, sorry, I am irrational, and my views are cast in concrete, but if you really want to help a person get over an addiction, go help them.
        It is funny how people can be so passionate about making sure all these programs are so well funded, but as soon as you ask them to make the sacrifice it takes to help someone through an addiction they decide it is no longer a cause they want to fight for. I guarantee that if everyone who disagrees with my point of view went to St. Anthony and adopted one of these people as a loved one to help, there would be a lot less addict to stay at that house.
        My problem is not with the money it costs to fund this place, it’s with the fact that this place is making the problem worse. Maybe not for your conscience, but definitely for an addict or alcoholic who wants to get better? If a person does not want to get better, then what prerogative do I have to make sure he is well funded to keep getting worse? I know, it is heartless to you, but I’m a jerk and my opinions don’t count; only my money does.

  57. Dr. D. says:

    For everyone complaining about the money/funding, I do not understand how you do not understand that we pay more as taxpayers for these people if they are not in the wet house.

  58. johandix says:

    I may have missed it but I did not read anything about the cost of treatment to the individual if county/state funds are refused. My father failed treatment twice so was no longer eligible for any funds. The only way that I could get him into treatment was to show that there had been criminal behavior. “”Fortunately”” my father had forged a check of my grandmothers so that “qualified” as criminal. But wait, he hadn’t been found guilty of the crime. I had to file charges against my dad and do the questioning of him on the stand. With a gulity verdict he was ordered to treatment for 7 days of a 21 day program. This procress took 3 months and a lot of unbelievable pain for just 7 days. Even though treatment did not work for my dad it would be great if all you had to do was walk into the door of a treatment facility and say I need help and there would be an advocate with open arms to lead you to your room and bed. It doesn’t work that way folks. This was in WI and also 12 years ago so hopefully things have changed drastically. It’s not as easy as just “asking for help”. Sitting in front of my dad in court and questioning him was the second hardest thing I have ever done. The first hardest thing was after he had been released from treatment after his 7 days with no notification to anyone that I had to go and claim his belongings in a motel room along his blood soaked bed. So please don’t always blame the family for not doing enough. Sometimes the systems fails these people too. I respect and admire the compassion that the people that are helping these individuals have. Yes, I have looked up the address and will be sending a donation as I live several hours away and it would be difficult to make it there to volunteer as I am working full time. If my donation gives one lonely “drunk” a place to sleep with compassionate people surrounding them then my dad’s lonely death will not have been in vain….

  59. to whatever life brings says:

    I think we just let them die on the streets so our kids can see it. It will be a great attraction to the outsiders visiting our new stadiums. That we paying for in case you forget.
    Oh – when we clean up the streets and toss them into a detox program for the RNC or wanna be DNC conventions someday it won’t be free either I guess.
    I am only kidding here of course. I am 100% in favor of this. I’ll happily donate a few $$ and some time if they need it. I do the same for the local schools.
    We have people in need and in trouble in this country. It’s maybe time to get off the high horses you are riding, shut your flappers, and act like decent human beings. Or not – but do not ever look to anyone for help if you are in trouble yourself someday or stranded on a road in the dead of winter near death due to cold …. it just might be that someone drives past your pompous arse and all you see are the lights as they fly by.

  60. cindy says:

    I just hope that all of you in favor of this are not the ones crying out that the government is getting too involved into our lives and choices or you are the biggest of hypocrites. Everyone seems to have their personal stories when it comes to this discussion. That helps or hurts in tainting your view of this entire subject. I know of no one that asked help but didn’t get it. I know of many that didn’t want help and are no longer here because of that fact. I do very much wish that everyone would quit comparing this to having cancer. Cancer is not similar to alchoholism at all. Let’s only talk about the problem at hand and the views dealing with strickly this problem, human beings, choices and compassion. Making a choice or have compassion in your heart costs nothing. Reacting to those two things is what costs. Make it a choice for those who want to help fund and not for those that don’t. Simple as that. They can fund raise their budget like most other causes have to.Let the fund raisers begin for all of you on here thinking a need for these types of facilites are so gravely in need.

  61. Caitlin says:

    These programs are part of a model called Harm Reduction. It is the same type of program that would give clean needles to addicts so that they are using in a safe way that will not pass on HIV. The basis of this model is to meet people where they are. It is accepted that the person is going to continue using their drug of choice until he or she decides they are ready for help. No one can make the choice for them. So, if that person is going to use, you want them to do it in a way that will reduce the most harm to themselves and/or others. The people who live in this facility are there because they are not ready to stop using alcohol. People have gotten sober in facilities like this, so it’s not just a place where people can drink themselves to death. However, the staff accepts the fact that the person has to make the choice to stop. They will then help them start the process to recovery. It is sad and not easy to look at, but it makes sense. Without programs like these, the residents at these types of facilities would cost us much more. They would stay in detox, hospitals, or jail, which cost between $192 a night to $2500 a night. This way, they have a safe place to go at night. They won’t be committing petty crimes to get out of the cold and they won’t be freezing under bridges. I agree that cancer is different from alcoholism; however, alcoholism is a very real disease.

    1. Alison says:

      Thank you so very much for your post. As a family member to a resident at one of these facilities I truly appreciate that you have shared your knowledge of this topic for others to learn… or not to if they so choose.
      Again, thank you!

  62. Alison says:

    Thank you to all who have sent their thoughts and prayers to my family.
    We find comfort in the fact that my Uncle Ralph, though homeless for many years, was found comfortably in his bed at the St. Anthony House rather then frozen, beaten or otherwise on the streets.
    Though there have been mixed reviews (both to news articles in the paper as well as an interview that my Mother, and cousin Aimee were a part of for WCCO) in regards to whether or not Minnesotans believe these homes should be available I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you to all who donate to Catholic Charities so that this warm, safe house was available for my Uncle (and is still to many others) to not only die peacefully. Thank you to the wonderful staff at St. Anthony House for being there for him when we weren’t able to enable him any longer. Thank you for the county case worker(s) that helped him to reconnect with his daughter so that she could find peace in knowing he was finally maintaining some sort of routine and had a place to sleep and eat. Thank you to all of our friends and family for being such a great support through what we are dealing with as a family now and everything that we have had to endure as a family to this point. Thank you to anyone that has ever been a part of my uncles life… who has ever encouraged him to fight his disease, brought him to the hospital, smiled at him on the street, gone fishing with him, hugged him, spent time with him as a child or adult, all of you… Thank you to each and every person (Police officers, funeral directors, case workers, news staff etc.) our family has been in communication with for not losing sight of the facts… that regardless of his life decisions, my uncle was still a person. Still someones father, a grandfather, an uncle, a brother and a son… not just a number, statistic and not just some homeless drunk. He was loved. He is missed. And he was never ever forgotten and will never be forgotten.
    God Bless you all and thank you again for all you have done and all that you continue to do!

  63. You're nuts says:

    What a bunch of B.S.

  64. Patricia says:

    These are children of God, They need our love and compassion, and prayers, daily, AND a place to belong. I’m glad it exists. I hope 12 step information is available, just in case.

  65. trudee able says:

    Every human has the right to die with some dignity. I’ve worked with street youth for over 30 years, many are able to leave the streets, some cannot leave their addictions. Are we a humane society? We do a poor job of taking care of people with disabilities, including alcoholics. I applaud St. Anthony’s efforts!

  66. Todd says:

    Too many uneducated opinions.
    Amazed that so many ignorant comments can be made.
    Lee you are a piece of work, Not sure if your jealous or angry over the living situation of these folks who have deeper problems and the disease of alcoholism.
    As mentioned not all alcoholics can be cured. Sober isn’t easily an option for many of these people, It is not as easy as flipping a switch. Maybe you should be more grateful for what you have

  67. Steve says:

    I think we all know that people can only change themselves. We should only judge ourselves. We all have the right to live and die in a dignified manner. Compassion is the power of being human and is a gift to share.

  68. myseajam says:

    Here in Louisiana, detox cost $50.00 for three days, but you have to be sober to get in.

    Homeless shelters cost $10.00 per day but you have to pass a breatherlizer that indicates that your blood alcohol level is 0.0, Then you can only stay there between 5:00 pm and 8:30 am.

    I am a homeless viet nam veteran who (for some psyco-social reason) has become an alcoholic drug abuser.

    What is there for me…..

  69. Wanda says:

    My personal thanks to St. Anthony’s for their compassionate work among the chronically ill and their recognition that drunks are people. Some of these people when they are on the street are treated worse than most folks would treat their dogs. I lost my son to suicide last December. He was 40 years old, intelligent, artistic, loving, kind and was wonderful to me. We were very close. He had a mental disorder as well as chronic alcoholism. We were trying to get the mental disorder treated successfully but, between it, his drinking, his time in jail and prisons, did not ever give us the time we needed to do so. I loved him very much. And will miss him, the good times and also the difficult times, for every day of the rest of my life. He is at peace now as he never was in life. Thank you, St. Anthony’s for loving the person and not rejecting the person as being the disease itself. God Bless and keep you. “Love is nothing if not a thousand tiny acts of kindness.” Loosely quoted from an article in Alcoholics Anonymous’ publication, “The Grapevine.”

  70. tryecrot says:

    Yes there should realize the opportunity to RSS commentary, quite simply, CMS is another on the blog.

  71. Denisha Kealy says:

    This is good and you do a outstanding job. Thanks!

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