TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ/AP) – An effort is underway to start a shelter where homeless alcoholics in Traverse City can live and drink.

Alcohol and drug counselor Greg Stone is spearheading the crusade to create a so-called ‘wet house’.

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“It costs money when people go into the emergency room and there is no reimbursement,” said Stone . “It costs money from emergency transport, it costs money for police time – incarceration, these are costs that the public pays for.”

He says it would give the homeless a chance to live with dignity while saving taxpayer dollars.

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“In Grand Traverse County – they figured homeless persons attributed to about $56,000 of costs since the first of this year. For that kind of money … I could have two houses and probably house 20 people for a year.”

Proponents say a wet house primarily would be for drinkers with greatly reduced chances of recovery… and it would save taxpayer dollars.

Alcohol would not be served there, but people would be able to drink what they brought in. Advocates of the wet house say it would also mean fewer homeless people would be publicly intoxicated.

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