Homeless people can get help in the shadow of Silicon Valley, but there is no ‘lasting’ change

Andrea Urton, who grew up in a homeless home in Los Angeles, observed how small business needs help care for the poor.

So when she received a phone call from an Apple representative, she was somewhat surprised.

“Apple or Google or Facebook have reached out to me personally and said, ‘We want to work on developing this property and we don’t just want to mobilize people.’ , CEO of HomeFirst, a company that provides services to the homeless in Santa Clara County, including Silicon Valley House for several technology companies, including Apple.

“I have not been offered this level of support and no company is willing to pay for it,” Urton said.

Apple has offered millions of dollars for the company’s move to relocate dozens of people on Apple-owned land in San Jose or RSS’s “safe parking” – all paid for by Apple. For nine months, while social services were provided for 12 months, Urton said. In early September, Apple began clearing the camp, one of several communities around Silicon Valley.

The expansion of some California tech giants in recent years is a kind of anti-poverty effort as it transforms communities, refines local housing supplies and increases homelessness. A.D. In 2019, Apple announced that it would spend $ 2.5 billion to solve the California housing crisis, and Facebook spent $ 1 billion. NBC News has approached Google about its efforts to address the state’s housing crisis.

That same year, a study by the Bay Area Economic Institute found that at least $ 12.7 billion would be needed to end homelessness in the next nine counties of Bay.

Tiggs Smith and his two children lived in a camp near Pumping Drive in San Jose, California. Anda Chu / Mercury News via Getty Images

But while Urton thinks Apple “really wants to fix it,” other advocates see the effort as a failure to address the problem of housing, which they say is dominated by high-tech. The average price per family home in the Bay Area and nine counties reached $ 1.34 million in May – an increase of about 40 percent year-on-year.

It is these technology companies that are creating homelessness because this is ridiculous. ” “There is no housing for all the workers. There is housing for technologists, but no housing for cleaners. ”

Apple spokesman Rachel Tuli declined to comment on the program but gave a corporate statement.

“Apple is working with partners to help fight the housing crisis in California and support vulnerable communities and provide new affordable services,” the company said in a statement. As the challenges of tenants and potential homeowners increase, we accelerate our support and have already invested over $ 1 billion for new projects by early 2020.

Extensive problems

California is in a homeless crisis. It is a matter of taking care of almost everything in the state – if it fails Remember the voice of Governor Gavin Newsom, The campaign was based on the state’s liberal politics. And while many parts of the region are facing housing challenges, San Jose and its environs, where many of the world’s largest technology companies are based, offer a unique combination of wealth and poverty.

Apple’s 43-hectare vacant property will be located just a few miles north of San Jose, across from PayPal’s headquarters and some eBay offices across the street. Apple It bought more than $ 138 million in 2015 and public records show The company has office utility plans for 15,000 employees. It was mostly dusty, heart-shaped property, torn down, and partially driven. Light rail stations and low-rise office parks are also nearby.

The settlement will be closed on August 5, 2021. Anda Chu (Mercury News via Getty Images)

Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, is one of the most expensive parts of California – according to Zillo.

Over time, the community on the compiler drive grew to approximately 100 people in one place. Prior to the site’s demolition, San Jose city officials said there were “200 tons of hazardous waste”, at least 30 to 35 people living, and at least twice as many vehicles.

Homeless facts

Some residents say Apple’s move was difficult, and they feel they are more fortunate than others. Lynn Shipman, 57, said she has been living in a companion drive near Orchhard Way, south of the plan, since March. Merkebman was transferred to a different neighborhood on the other side of San Jose International Airport, where she was charged with felony criminal mischief.

A former hospice worker, Shipman said she grew up about five miles from the Compound Drive station and has been homeless for three years now. She once lived on a street near Tesla’s headquarters in Fremontno, north of San Jose.

“We had a great community on the compiler. We had a garden. We ate everyone, ”she said from her motel room, referring to tomatoes and green beans.

During the outbreak, the ship lost its job as a painting assistant and paid $ 109 a week in unemployment benefits, which it recently completed. As long as Merkebman stays on the site, she and her community have been largely ignored, or at least quietly said.

Despite a difficult initial transition from Apple – She and others at the scene argued that Apple’s contract security guards were careless, courageous, and even hostile. – Shipman says she was grateful for paying Apple HomeFirst. The company has been providing motel room for nine months, as well as food, supplies and various social services. They trust the future, hoping that the ship’s crew will be able to rebuild the tooth that she said she had lost in the future.

“I got into this mess myself, I think I’ll get out of this mess,” she said.

Apple declined to comment on NBC News.


But the California homelessness crisis continues to be a major issue. Margaret Omara, a professor of history at the University of Washington and a historian at Silicon Valley, says Apple is spending millions of dollars to help this unique community, but the company is working on band-aids. Massive, massive damage, ”he said, adding that the housing and economic crisis in the Bay Area is“ systematic ”.

“For these big companies, such economic forces and the forces in the region are their business,” he said. It is not only a civic responsibility, but it will be important to be able to do what they want, and again it has a very different role to play in the very bottom line.

She points out that in the last century, the area now known as Silicon Valley was once a farming center known as the Valley of Happiness. In the 20th century, it was transformed into a strong middle class, dominated by defense contractors and a new suburban workforce in the new technology industry.

“Steve Jobs’ father did not graduate from high school,” she said. “He got a job as a laser technician. He Did Not Come From Nothing ”

Finally, as the houses are inaccessible to those above, the region may be hit with a breaking point.

“How do you make it last?” Omar said. Now that is the valley problem.

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