Shots All Around: San Francisco Serving Free Alcohol To Homeless

A program that offers free booze to the homeless alcoholics that roam San Francisco caught flak this week when a tech CEO questioned the logic of feeding the addictions of the city’s street dwellers.

Adam Nathan, founder and CEO of the small business AI marketing tool Blaze and the chair of the Salvation Army San Francisco Metro Advisory Board, posted a thread on X slamming the program after watching a string of unhoused drunks line up for their shots, stating it “just doesn’t feel right.”

“Did you know San Francisco spends $2 million a year on a ‘Managed Alcohol Program?’ It provides free Alcohol to people struggling with chronic alcoholism who are mostly homeless,” Nathan wrote on the social media site.

His estimate was actually just 40% of the total cost — the four-year-old “managed alcohol program” actually costs the city $5 million a year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The program as described by the Chronicle sees nurses dispense “controlled doses” of vodka and beer to street people at specific times of the day. Intended to keep the homeless off the streets and out of jail or the emergency room, it’s run out of a former hotel in the city’s Tenderloin district.

The program started with 10 beds and has now grown to 20, the Chronicle reported. Over the four years, it’s served 65 clients total, the report said, with the goal of keeping the participants out of the ER and reducing calls to cops.

Nathan said he took a close look at the high-octane giveaways.

“Inside the lobby, they had a kegs set up to taps where they were basically giving out free beer to the homeless who’ve been identified with [alcohol use disorder],” he wrote. “It’s set up so people in the program just walk in and grab a beer, and then another one. All day.”

“Providing free drugs to drug addicts doesn’t solve their problems. It just stretches them out,” Nathan continued. “Where’s the recovery in all of this?”

Read the full story here.