St. Boniface Church in San Francisco is the only church in the US that invites homeless citizens in during the day for “sacred sleep.” Having a safe place to sleep truly is sacred to the 7,539 homeless individuals in the metropolis. Partnered with The Gubbio Project, the church is open to all religious denominations for some shut-eye and access to restrooms, making it a beacon of hope in a world with many closed doors to those in need.
An average of 200 people visit the church daily as a respite. No one is turned away for reasons other locations may impose as limitations, such as hygiene, mental illness symptoms, or being under the influence of substances. One of the church’s co-founders, Father Louis, recognizes the need for all to have a safe haven. The SF Gate says about the community leader, “He says he sees only their hearts. And their exhaustion.”
Not only do visitors have access to a peaceful place to sleep and wash up, but trained staff and volunteers are also available to give community referrals to places offering basic human needs, such as food, clothing, and blankets. The generosity of the church isn’t just an act of good charity, but also an opportunity for a broader conversation about how the general public sees those who are homeless. To be able to look beyond fear or bias and see the individual is the foundation of compassion. St. Boniface Church hopes other institutions will follow suit and begin opening their doors to neighbors in need.