July 17 (UPI) -- The Florida city of West Palm Beach is playing loops of children's songs overnight to deter people from sleeping at a downtown pavilion.
City spokeswoman Kathleen Walter said the city plays songs such as Baby Shark and Raining Tacos at the city's Lake Pavilion to discourage people -- including the homeless -- from "congregating" at the building and push them to "seek safer, more appropriate shelter."
"The music volume complies with city code and is a temporary measure we are exploring the possibility of having set hours for the Great Lawn and Pavilion," she said.
Lake Pavilion has hosted 164 events from June 1, 2018, through June 30 of this year, and the city expects to earn $240,000 through the property.
"People are paying a lot of money to use the facility," said Leah Rockwell, director of Parks and Recreation for the city. "We want to make sure people paying this money had a facility that was clean and open and continue to use it in the future."
West Palm Beach police used classical music to deter drug dealers from congregating on a local street 15 years ago, but the program was scrapped after someone destroyed the electrical cabinet used to power the speakers.
Megan Hustings, interim director of the National Coalition for the Homeless said the practice shows a "lack of concern for our community members who are struggling through a very rough time."
"Responding with this kind of discrimination and disgust instead of compassion is ... really immoral. It's disturbing," Hustings said. "We're all humans and we need to sleep."
City officials have said they are working with nonprofits to provide for the homeless by subsidizing housing and providing mental health services and job training.