Downtown’s New Drunk Tank

The redo of this Chenevert St. warehouse is complete, Mayor Parker announced yesterday, and the Houston Center for Sobriety is ready to give drunk people a place to dry out. Next to the Eastex Fwy., the 84-bed center at 150 N. Chenevert will operate out of a 19,000-sq.-ft. building behind the Star of Hope homeless shelter, across from Irma’s Mexican restaurant on Ruiz and just a few blocks north of Minute Maid Park.


At a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, Mayor Parker said the center, which will allow those who are picked up for public intoxication to bypass jail and a hiccup on their criminal record, should open in the next few weeks.

KUHF’s Jack Williams reports that the 2-story center will cost about $1.5 million a year to operate, saving the city $4.5 million on the 17,000 public intoxication arrests that have been up to now processed through the city jail. HPD will headquarter its mental health resources here, as well.

Below: The warehouse before the renovations began last fall.

Photos: Candace Garcia (old warehouse); Allyn West (others)

11 Comment

  • Great work by the city.

  • Its about time! Round up the passed out drunks downtown and take them to this facility.

  • Just saying, I think I could gnaw my way out of this building.

  • Where is the nearest bar for future reference?

  • So will someone clear this up as to what actually happens at this facility? Do they just toss people in there for PIs and let them sober up and avoid processing them and giving them a ticket?

    Are PIs really that big of a problem? I feel like that’s more of a college town kind of problem.

  • PIs and mental health issues are pretty big, particularly among the homeless population that causes other posters around here to perpetually have their knickers in a frightened twist.

  • Drew J- I’ll bet my boots they will still expect you to pay the $262 PI ticket. This is just to ease overcrowding at the jails, supposedly.

  • PIs are a huge problem. They clog the jails every weekend which slows down processing criminals that commit actual crimes. Throw them in the sobering tank and let the homeless at the Star of Hope rob them. That will teach them a better lesson than sitting in jail for a night.

  • so this is just for people walking around/sleeping that are drunk but no other offense like DWI, fighting, running around naked peeing on cars?

  • I’m not seeing a turnstile on that front door. An architectural over-site no doubt. Wondering how they’re going to pay that 1.5 million yearly overhead cost? Must have slipped Mayor Parker’s mind to mention that.

  • curaecivem: ostensibly they’d pay the cost out of the money that would have gone toward housing these folks in the traditional system. As the article points out, that 1.5 million expenditure generates avoided costs savings of 4.5 million. I think that’s a pretty damn good deal. It’s not 1.5 million in new expenditure, it’s a reallocation, and bonus 3 million dollar savings.