Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the central church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has been accused of dumping water on the homeless in an effort to keep them off church steps.
According to CBS San Francisco, the church illegally installed a water system that goes off every 30 to 60 minutes, dumping water from 30 feet onto the church steps where many homeless find solitude at night. A staff member confirmed the system was installed solely to keep the homeless from the area.
While some of the individuals say they’re aware of the “No Trespassing” signs, they’re just trying to find somewhere to sleep at night. Robert, who happens to be homeless, tells CBS he and others bring umbrellas and other protective gear to sleep between the alcoves of the church.
“We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick,” Robert said.
Joshua Pittman, who is also homeless, added that the church’s actions conflict with the moral message of the institution. Archdiocese representative Chris Lyford says the actions of the church are shocking, but employees have repeatedly told the homeless about shelters and have given them basic necessities like food and ironically, water.
“We refer them, mostly to Catholic Charities, for example for housing,” Lyford said. “To Saint Anthony’s soup kitchen for food, if they want food on that day. Saint Vincent de Paul if they need clothes. We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person. But there is only so much you can do.”
The Archdiocese released another statement stating they will look into the claims at the Cathedral.
SOURCE: CBS San Francisco | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc.