Relaymedia

How Tech Tries to Help San Francisco's Homeless

( [email protected] ) Dec 12, 2016 10:37 PM EST
Big and small tech companies have all been trying to bridge the gap to address the lack of services for the homeless in the US, which now is amounting to around 1.56 million, or 0.5% of the population. Of this, San Francisco ranks second with 795 people per 100,000 residents.
San Francisco now has 795 homeless people per 100,000 residents. San Francisco Chronicle.

Big and small tech companies have all been trying to bridge the gap to address the lack of services for the homeless in the US, which now is amounting to around 1.56 million, or 0.5% of the population. Of this, San Francisco ranks second with 795 people per 100,000 residents.

Ironically, tech is what drives San Francisco, with homegrown brands that have made big names for themselves such as, Adobe Systems, Airbnb, Autodesk, Cisco Systems, Dolby Laboratories, Dropbox, Google, Intuit, LinkedIn, Lucasfilm, Macycs.com, Pinterest, Salesforce, Square, Twitter, Uber, Yahoo, Yelp, Zendesk, and Zynga among many others.

Several companies have been stepping up to help out, and here are some of their efforts to address the following needs:

Food

Copia: this company aims to connect businesses with surplus food with those in need of them. The food exchange is facilitated by a "Food Hero Driver" who picks up the food, brings them to Copia's office, with Copia then doing the distribution. It also offers tax write-off incentives to businesses who donate food.

Waste No Food: this works around the same concept as Copia, connecting businesses with food surplus with those who need them. It is also app-based and is available for download on iOS and Android.

Food Cowboy: this company connects not only businesses, but also individuals who have food to donate. It works in partnership with charities in the area whom the donator can also choose from. Food Cowboy has made it possible on the app for the donator and the charity to directly contact each other. Once food delivery is successful, Food Cowboy then sends an email confirmation to both parties.

Specific needs

Indiegogo: this is a popular crowdfunding site not just for merchandise, but also for fundraising specific needs such as, life-saving treatments.

Volunteer Match: the site aims to match interested volunteers with charities who are in need of service-based support for their projects. This site works not just for US-specific projects, but also for international projects that can be supported online.

Skills

Code Tenderloin: it is "coding boot camp" that provides free training for in-demand skills such as, financial management, legal knowledge, and childcare among others. It does not only center on providing coding skills, although it is its main offering. "Tenderloin" refers to a neighborhood in San Francisco handicapped by high crime and unemployment rates.

As one participant of Code Tenderloin says, "They were real, real specific, even to the point of being early for the interview, doing your homework and research on the company, and how to market yourself. I knew some of the tricks, but (everything else) was all new to me."