Homeless and on the streets — that’s about as lost as a soul can get. And helping a homeless person is about a complicated a “least of these” ministry as you can find. There’s almost never a simple reason why someone has become homeless, and untangling the complex knot of inter-related problems can be very frustrating. On top of that, many of the ways we instinctively try to help can wind up making things worse.
Doing something helpful is better — and more Christlike — than doing nothing, however. One church in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District opens it sanctuary during the day so homeless souls have a safe place to sleep.
(CC Jeanette Antal NC)
Zoe Mintz writes in the Huffington Post:
For the city’s homeless, San Francisco’s St. Boniface Church is seen as a safe haven.
The nonprofit known as the Gubbio Project partners with the Roman Catholic church to let the city’s homeless sleep on its pews during daylight hours, even during Mass, and provides a host of services to hundreds of those who are forced to leave when homeless shelters close in the morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“Part of the craziness you run into on the streets with homeless people is drugs and alcohol related, but some is severe lack of sleep, which can cause psychosis,” Rev. Tommy King, a pastor at St. Boniface told the Chronicle. “This helps them in terms of mental health.”
Every weekday the program uses the sanctuary’s rear 76 pews between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. while providing access to the church’s amenities like bathrooms, blankets, clothing vouchers and haircuts, executive director Laura Slattery told the Huffington Post in an email. Click here to read the full article
Heather Knight writes in the San Francisco Chronicle:
The ornately painted ceiling, stained-glass windows, huge marble columns and organ pipes high above the wooden pews could make St. Boniface Church a stop on any San Francisco tourist’s must-see list. But the loud snores and incense burned to help cover pungent smells quickly indicate this isn’t your standard sanctuary.
For the homeless people who enter the Tenderloin church at 6 a.m., it’s something even more sacred: a place to stretch out and enjoy hours of safe, uninterrupted sleep. Click here to read the full article
The Gubbio project at St. Boniface Church in San Francisco allows people to sit and sleep in the pews of the church from 6 a.m. til 1 p.m. (CC Jeanette Antal NC)