San Francisco cops reach into own wallets to help homeless family


It was a wet and windy Friday night in San Francisco. Joel Silva, his wife and their five children had no place to go.

"I was late for the shelter I was staying at," Silva said. "At that point we had no place to stay, you know."

Salvation Army workers handing out hot food and coffee at UN Plaza saw the family of seven. They called police.

"It was a wellbeing check on this family who'd been wandering the streets in inclement weather," SFPD Ofc. Eithne Cummins said. "The report came out that it looked like they needed help."

Four officers located the Silva's at Carl's Jr. near 7th and Market streets.

"They had food, but they were a little low on formula for the baby and wet wipes and what not," Cummins said. "They just couldn't be out. It was way past some of the babies' bedtime. "We just pooled our resources, got them the wet wipes and basic bay needs and went and located a hotel within walking distance."

The officers reached into their pockets and came up with enough money for a night at the hotel.

"We had to do something," Ofc. Brendan Caraway said. "Between the four of us a hotel for a night is not the most expensive thing in the world."

"It was a no brainer for us," Ofc. Brian Carew said. "We wanted to help out, especially with the five kids. We couldn't leave them like that."

"At the time it was the right thing to do," Ofc. Valerie Durkin said. "We all had warm beds to go home to that night."

And thanks to the officers, so did the Silvas on Friday night.

Joel Silva says thank you.

"They're definitely going above and beyond to help our family out," he said.

A lieutenant at southern station contacted city social service agencies to provide other assistance, including a family shelter.

Copyright © 2023 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.