The St. Boniface church in San Francisco opens its doors every night so that homeless people can find a peaceful and quiet place to sleep. But not only that, the church also offers their guests a few blankets, especially in the winter time. They also offer massages for those that are experiencing some pain or discomfort. The church receives an average of 225 people who seek solace in the church every day.
The Church is able to provide this service to the public thanks to the Gubbio Project. The Gubbio project was founded in 2004 by community activist Shelly Roder with the help of Father Louis Vitale. The project would serve as a as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center in San Francisco. It was launched to address the rising number of homeless people who needed refuge from the streets.
The website states that: “No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away and all are welcomed, respected, and treated with dignity.” The church makes use of first third of the pews for church goers who attend mass and the back 2/3 of the pews are for sanctuary.
“This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” said the non-profit organization, “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”