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February 25th at 11:13pm

Would San Francisco's Patron Saint be Heartbroken?

This beautiful city by the bay is named after St. Francis who believed deeply in the connection and brotherhood of man, and I’m pretty sure he meant between everyone not just some.  But too often the current incarnation of San Francisco reflects not St. Francis’ vision but rather a growing chasm between haves and have-nots that stratifies rather than unites people.

What’s worse, is there is a percentage - I don’t how large - of people with growing affluence who have a callused disregard for the marginalized. I heard just this morning about a tech executive who literally said “I make so much money I can afford to step over the homeless in this city.” He’s not alone; local headlines over the past year have captured similar attitudes.

I believe this person - and the others - are in the minority; that most people here truly care but don’t know how to help; don’t understand the problem - the causes; the challenges to ending it - and are thus paralyzed. Even we, after working in this field for two plus years, are often baffled by why solutions aren’t more actionable.

But just as things start to feel bleak, we are buoyed by the simple acts of grace we bear witness to everyday like when those we serve share what little they have with others in similar straits; like the countless emails we get from people who believe in what we’re doing and offer their time, money or other resources to help, or like the support we get from partners who remind us that together every life we touch is left a little brighter and little stronger because we care. 

Perhaps St. Francis would instantly see the good that still shapes this city. I’d like to think that what he stood for, what San Francisco is named for, is unshakable here regardless of any incarnation the city takes.

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