Council approves new sobering center
The Houston City Council has approved a plan calling for the construction of a new sobering center, in partnership with Star of Hope, where people will be detained for public intoxication and can be taken to regain sobriety in a safe, medically monitored environment.
The council also approved including the Houston Police Department's Mental Health Unit in the same building, bringing together staff dispersed thr oughout the city into one location.
The new center will also cut the time officers spend processing paperwork for such cases, as well as reducing the city's financial burden for handling public intoxication cases. The annual cost to lease, maintain and staff the new center is an estimated $1.5 million, a decrease of $2.5-4.5 million compared to what is currently spent.
Individuals who choose the sobering center will be given outpatient services to manage various intoxication levels. Once sober, detainees will meet with recovery specialists who will offer opportunities for long-term treatment.
"Star of Hope is pleased to be a partner in this new venture," said Hank Rush, the organization’s president and CEO. "In other cities, 60 to 80 percent of the individuals who utilize a sobering center are homeless. Here in Houston, we'll be on site to counsel and refer them to appropriate providers who can help them with their recovery and transitional needs as they return to independent living."
The new center will operate out of an existing two-story building located behind the Star of Hope Men's Development Center on Ruiz Street. A 501(c) 3 foundation will also be created to aid in fundraising for operations and future expansion.
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