NEWS Mayor cuts ribbon for new Houston Recovery Center

Mayor Annise Parker cut the ribbon at the Houston Recovery Center today, marking the completion of the renovation of the building that will house the city’s new sobering center. 

“This is an innovative solution to a costly problem that diverts our police from other matters and crowds the city jail,” said Mayor Parker.  “It is the first step toward the city’s long-term goal of getting out of the jail business. My goals are reduced costs, easing of jail overcrowding and safer streets. My hope for the individuals who wind up here is real change in their lives.”

The sobering center is meant to be an alternative to jail for people whose only offense is public intoxication, allowing them to regain sobriety in a safe, medically-monitored environment. Once detainees are sober, they will meet with professional counselors who will offer long-term treatment referrals to appropriate social service agencies. By not booking these offenders into the city jail, officers are able to return to their neighborhood patrols more quickly.

“With the opening of this center, Houston has adapted a more humane response to those with mental illness who are homeless and those with addiction disorders,” said HRC Board Chair Kay Austin.

HRC Director Leonard Kincaid said, “The center will provide an intervention and education experience for all who visit us and a pathway to recovery for those with substance abuse disorders.”

The 84-bed facility is located in a two-story building at 150 N. Chenevert Steet. It will be managed by a local government corporation created last year by Houston City Council. Annual operating costs are expected to be $1.5 million, compared to the $4 – 6 million it currently costs to process public intoxication cases at the city jail. 

It is expected the sobering center will formally begin accepting detainees in the next few weeks.  It is an option only for those who have committed no other crime and have no outstanding warrants. There are separate facilities for both men and women. 

The second floor of the building is the new home of the Houston Police Department’s mental health unit. 

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