Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do you accept Services as your savior?

San Francisco's Park Code Section 3.13 tells a lot about the quasi-religious mentality behind prosecution and persecution of homeless people in our town. The use of "accepts Social Services" in the ordinance (capital letters sic) recalls the way some Christian doctrines promise retroactive redemption from sin through repentance and belief:
"No person shall remain in any park for the purpose of sleeping between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., except that special permission may be granted by the Recreation and Park Department to persons providing security services between said hours in any park or for other unusual events.

A person cited under this section shall not be in violation of this section if: 1) he or she does not have an outstanding citation for violation of this section; and, 2) within 30 hours of issuance of the citation, her or she accepts Social Services offered by the City, another public entity, or a private, non-profit agency. For the purpose of this section, the term "Social Services" shall mean temporary or permanent housing, residential substance abuse treatment, Homeless Outreach Team Case Management services, or admission to a hospital or other residential facility for medical treatment. For purposes of this section, "outstanding citation" shall mean a citation that is not paid or that is under appeal."
According to the Gospel of Services, homelessness is a state of sin and error. Those in a state of homelessness who accept Services shall be saved and excused, and they shall not receive bench warrants for failure to appear, nor shall the cops regard them with the unholy fish-eye. Each soul who has Accepted Services shall sit in his assigned rehab, SRO or shelter cubicle under his watt-saving fluorescent lightbulb, and if anyone maketh them afraid in those places, the prosecution admitteth it not.

Here endeth the lesson.

No comments:

Post a Comment