Needs, not judgment, come first for St. Anthony’s of San Francisco

San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood is known for its rampant drug use, crime and homelessness. The police department made more than 600 cases against Tenderloin dealers in 2018, according to statistics shared on its Twitter feed. Police often report 60 to 80 arrests a week. Overdoses are common. And there were 17 shootings in the neighborhood in 2017. 

But St. Anthony Foundation has cleaned up their block of the neighborhood in a different way — without law enforcement.

“We take in areas that are infested with crime, jails, homelessness, drug use and we’re cleaning them up through partnerships and communication instead of using law enforcement,” said Wayne Garnett, manager of St. Anthony’s Client and Safety Services.

Franciscan Fr. Alfred Boeddeker started St. Anthony’s Dining Room in October 1950. It has since expanded, providing a medical clinic, technology lab, clothing program, Client and Safety Services, addiction recovery and more.

St. Anthony’s Client and Safety Services staff member Graylan provides directions to a guest. (Provided photo)

Their work at Client and Safety Services continues to fall under those Franciscan values — healing, community, personalism, justice and gratitude — and it all starts before sunrise.

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