Edmonton mulls buying booze for homeless alcoholics

Photo illustration. 

(Fotolia)

Photo illustration. (Fotolia)

Dave Lazzarino, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:27 PM ET

With the first half of Edmonton's 10-year plan to end homelessness complete, a controversial idea is being tossed around to deal with some who have fallen through the cracks -- and it involves buying them a drink. The city's Housing First philosophy managed to put 2,900 people in homes since 2009. But for those whose alcoholism means they can't deal with living alone without support, Jay Freeman thinks a new approach is needed. "These are chronic alcoholics, they've been drinking for 30 or more years. It's highly unlikely they're going to stop drinking," said Freeman, executive director of the Edmonton Homeless Commission. He pointed to a few programs that suggest providing alcoholic drinks to the most extreme cases within a controlled environment can actually serve to lessen the problems related to alcohol abuse.

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