Unfortunately one of the n'hoods homeless just passed away in front of Peet's coffee just now. Saw him every day on Mkt. St. @Castro_Biscuit— Dennis Richards (@PlnCom_Richards) December 31, 2014
A homeless person who area residents say likely identified as female was found dead outside a Market Street Peet's Coffee on New Year's Eve, a passing police say was probably due in part to exposure to cold weather.
According to the Bay Area Reporter, police were called to the Peet's Coffee at 2257 Market Street (near Noe Street) at around 10 a.m. on December 31. When they arrived, they found the body of an area homeless person who, KRON4 reports, likely "died from exposure to the elements."
An area resident tells SFist that the deceased was a Castro figure known as "Anastasia," a possibly transgender person known for "roaming around with lots of scarves and a cup of coffee."
According to the National Weather service, temperatures in the Castro area might have dropped to as low as 41 degrees Wednesday morning between 6 and 7 a.m. Wednesday. The BAR reports that police are unsure how long Anastasia had been in front of the coffee shop before they were called.
Update: Local resident Marianne McMullan contacted SFist with her own story of having seen Anastasia the morning of her death.
That morning, I passed her at 6:30am on my way to work (I was late so did not stop). She was already lying on the bench. By 9am, I walked back home and passed her again.
I brought her soup and that's when I saw she was not doing so good. I stepped into Peet's and talked to the staff who told me they called 911 at 6:30am, and EMTs came but refused to take her!!!!!
I called again at 9:30am, pretty upset at the situation and explaining to the lady on the phone that the homeless person was having a stroke or an epilepsy attack as she was slurring and salivating. As it turned out she was dying. The ambulance finally arrived but it was too late.
I'm sad and I'm appalled!
But according to Wendy Mogg at the nearby Sweet Inspiration Bakery Cafe, it may be that police came and spoke to Anastasia, and not EMTs, in the hours preceding her death, and she may have refused help.
My understanding is that while she was on the bench for a few hours prior to passing away, many folks did call for help. In fact the police responded four times, she was conscious the first three, and refused offers of service. The fourth, it was too late. This all happened in a matter of a couple of hours. Our system is clearly ill designed to address a person in need who is not capable of making sound decisions on their own behalf. If we are to seriously consider the questions of compassion by the community, we need to think beyond whether or not folks noticed and called in for emergency services while she was dying, and think about the tougher more complex question of how to create a real safety net for our brothers and sisters struggling to survive in the margins of our world.