Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston has broken ground on the renovations and additions to the two-story, 19,080 sq. ft. building located at 150 N. Chenevert in north downtown that will become the Houston Center for Sobriety.
“This building will be the culmination of a great public/private partnership that will not only help reduce the city’s financial burden for handling public intoxication cases, it will also ease crowding in our city jail and make our streets safer,” said Mayor Parker. “We hope contractors will meet the benchmarks set for a grand opening by the end of 2012.”
The city’s annual cost to lease, maintain and staff the new center is estimated to be $1.5 million, compared to the $4-6 million currently being spent to process public intoxication cases at the city jail.
The Houston Center for Sobriety will be an alternative to jail for people detained for public intoxication, allowing the opportunity to regain sobriety in a safe, medically-monitored environment. The Houston Police Department (HPD), Houston Department of Health and Human Services and Houston Fire Department (HFD) will provide city services at the site. In addition, the building will also house the Houston Police Department’s Mental Health Unit, bringing together staff dispersed throughout the city into one location.
A 501(c)3 foundation will also be created to aid in future fundraising for operations and possible future expansion.