"They actually have signs in there that say, 'No Trespassing,'" one homeless man, named Robert, told the station. "We're going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick."
KCBS observed the system themselves, filming the video embedded above:
But there are no signs warning the homeless about what happens in these doorways, at various times, all through the night. Water pours from a hole in the ceiling, about 30 feet above, drenching the alcove and anyone in it.
The shower ran for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes while we were there, starting before sunset, simultaneously in all four doorways. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings.
The station also noticed a lack of drainage, creating pools of dirt, syringes, and cigarette butts to soak the homeless and their makeshift shelters.
A church staffer confirmed that the watering system was installed about a year ago "to deter the homeless from sleeping there"—and illegally, KCBS found, after review city records.
"We refer them, mostly to Catholic Charities, for example for housing," Chris Lyford, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, told the station."To Saint Anthony's soup kitchen for food, if they want food on that day. Saint Vincent de Paul if they need clothes."
Lyford claims to have only learned about the watering system from news reports—but he also has no problem defending its installation, saying, "We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person. But there is only so much you can do."