Nearly 15 years ago, St. Boniface church in San Francisco began opening their doors for homeless people in need of shelter. The effort was started by Father Louis Vitale of the church, and community activist Shelly Roder, in 2004 and is known as The Gubbio Project.

Hundreds of people each day pass through the church, using the pews to sleep on, and getting blankets from the staff.“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; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” according to the Gubbio Project’s website.

The facility is still open for local churchgoers who want to visit throughout the day, but 2/3 of the church is reserved for the Gubbio project.

“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. 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,” a representative with Gubbio said.

One of the main complaints that people often have about homeless shelters is that they can feel like prisons, and be extremely dangerous as well, but the Gubbio project seems different. 95% of those surveyed said they always or usually feel safe at The Gubbio Project, and those who pass through are not treated like prisoners as they are in many shelters.

As EIC reported last month, a new restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia called Corner Cafe FXBG will train the homeless and unemployed to work at their establishment. A nonprofit called Project F.O.R.C.E will provide a 120-day internship at the Cafe for people who are having trouble getting jobs, even those recently released from prison on non-violent charges.

Some of the participants will get a job at the Cafe, but those who don’t will have better skills to be able to find a different one.

At the end of their training they will take an exam, and if they pass they will earn a ServSafe certificate, which will make it easier for them to land jobs in the serving industry.

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