ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- Addiction is nothing new, but how a Rochester housing center approaches it is new to Southeastern Minnesota.
The public had a chance to attend the grand opening of Silver Creek Corner on Wednesday.
The wet house is a residential facility for homeless men and women who struggle with alcoholism, but they're still allowed to drink.
The center provides daily sober activities, however, alcohol treatment is optional.
There's been some strong opposition against the wet house and even though the $5.8 million building is up and running, as one person there put it, the battle isn't over.
Bob Hicks enjoys the view from his room, or as he likes to call it, "The pent house." "I got a corn field over there. I've got trees over there."
It doesn't seem like much: a private bathroom, a dresser, a table, a bed, but it's more than Bob's used to.
"I had nowhere else to turn. Nowhere. but I wasn't going to give up."
To escape reality, Bob turned to alcohol at the age of 9, a battle he still faces at 53, "I'm the oldest of 11 kids. So I was always a caretaker."
But for once in his life, he's not the big brother, or the soldier fighting for his country, or even a father to his three sons he hasn't seen since they were little.
For now, Silver Creek Corner's staff takes care of him. Bob says, "It's either quit this crap or die."
Tony Hunt says Bob's help a year ago is one of the reasons he's off the streets and sober. He now works for the center.
The staff provide alcohol treatment and sober activities, but it's not required of residents.
Tony Hunt says, "Until you walk in these, or walk in their shoes, don't knock it."
Bob drinks Natural Ice in his room, "It was every day, every day, every day, drink, drink, drink, drink."
But since he moved in two months ago, less cans clutter his table.
Bob says, "I thought I'd die. I really did. This place saved my life. It did. Yeah it did."
Bob hopes to go back to school at RCTC.
So far, there are 20 people living at Silver Creek Corner. The facility can house up to 40 people, and the remaining spots are expected to fill up.
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