Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SF Cathedral Has Been Deterring Homeless by Drenching Them in Water

Homeless Public DomainIf you live in an urban area, you probably know how difficult it is to deal with the homeless throughout the city. We all know that they need help, but if these people were easy to help, they probably wouldn't be homeless in the first place. They may have mental conditions or drug problems, and they might even be dangerous.

Even if you're a very sympathetic person who's willing to look past all that, you might not feel that way for long. Try living in a densely populated city for several years, and you might find yourself suffering from a kind of "compassion fatigue." Imagine witnessing these people on the streets, day in and day out, while never seeing their conditions improve or their numbers decrease no matter what anybody does. After a while their presence becomes one with the background noise of city life. Given enough time, they just become another "problem" that one must accept with urban living.

Perhaps that can explain the cruel method the Saint Mary's Cathedral is using in San Francisco, to prevent the homeless from sleeping in their doorways at night.
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — KCBS has learned that Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.
The cathedral, at Geary and Gough, is the home church of the Archbishop. There are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night.
“They actually have signs in there that say, ‘No Trespassing,’” said a homeless man named Robert.
But there are no signs warning the homeless about what happens in these doorways, at various times, all through the night. Water pours from a hole in the ceiling, about 30 feet above, drenching the alcove and anyone in it.
The shower ran for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes while we were there, starting before sunset, simultaneously in all four doorways. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings.
In the Church's defense, this is their property and they don't have to accommodate the homeless in any way there. Furthermore, a spokesman for the church stated that they do provide food, clothing, and shelter to the homeless in other parts of the city, and anyone who shows up at their door in need, is referred to those locations.

But to drench homeless people in water for sleeping in your doorway, without any kind of warning I might add, is kind of insane right? When I first heard about this story, I half expected it to be from the Onion. I mean, who does that? If for instance, you found someone sleeping in the outside doorway of your home, there are numerous ways you could respond to that. You might ask them to leave, or threaten to call the cops. Hell, stepping outside with a loaded shotgun and demanding that they leave your property, wouldn't be unreasonable, especially in a bad neighborhood. All of those options would more be more sensible and more humane, than dumping a bucket of water on a homeless person.

However, officials with the church claim that they don't have the personnel needed to secure that area at night. Fair enough. What if instead of a water system, they just installed gates outside of the doorway? Wouldn't that be a lot easier, and cheaper in the long run, considering the rising price of water in California?

I suppose that would be too easy. I honestly can't think of a reasonable explanation for this. I guess if you live and work in San Francisco long enough, your capacity for sense and compassion will eventually run dry.

1 comment:

  1. In Adelaide, South Australia, the Adelaide City Council has installed toilets that spray water on anyone sleeping inside at night. The Council claims these are automatic cleaning devices, but this is untrue as the toilets are no cleaner after each spray session.