Officials in one city are trying an unusual strategy in an effort to discourage homeless people from sleeping on the patio of a city-owned rental banquet facility. The AP reports that in West Palm Beach, Fla., they’re playing a continuous loop of children’s songs throughout the night.
“West Palm Beach parks and recreation director Leah Rockwell tells the Palm Beach Post they’re trying to discourage people from sleeping outside the glass-walled Waterfront Lake Pavilion, which she says rakes in some $240,000 annually from events,” the AP reports. “The loop of ‘Baby Shark’ and ‘Raining Tacos’ is a temporary fix to keep homeless people off the patio. Rockwell says the city wants to formalize hours for the facility, which should make trespassing laws easier to enforce.”
The Post quotes one homeless man, Illaya Champion, saying he thinks it’s wrong to use the music to chase people away. But Champion adds that he intends to continue sleeping there.
“It don’t bother me,” he’s quoted saying. “I still lay down in there. But it’s on and on, the same songs.”
Rockwell, however, believes the program is working.
“It has been effective and is a temporary measure to make the area accessible for those who have rented the facility and for future events,” she said. “We are not forcing individuals to stay on the patio of the pavilion to listen to the music. The music is heard only if you are on the patio, a very small area relative to the rest of the waterfront.”