Thanks for the article! I remember seen the homeless under bridges back in the early 1980s when I arrived in Silicon Valley. It made no sense back then and it makes no sense now. I could not reconcile the image of multi million dollar buildings next to the homeless encampments. I walk the trails around downtown San Jose and into Los Gatos and it is clear that the number of homeless has increased during this long economic unrecovery.
That's not how I feel but how I felt when I was homeless as a teenager (long before I put myself through college for my BSEE by working full time). Those who reached out to help me had little more then myself. Unfortunetly, I have a very cynical view of human nature based on my experiances.
Since then, when I stop at a panhandler or homeless person, I look them in the eye and talk to them as if they were my friend, I won't turn away and pretend they weren't there. While many have mental health problems, and some even enjoy the freedom of the lifestyle they live, I'm sure most would rather be given some help to be able to help them selves out of thier situation.
I wish I could do more then my holiday excursions to dontate to food pantries and what not, as someone touched on. There but for the grace of god go I...
Thanks for the article. Another solution would be for the companies to actually hire the folks that clean, maintain, etc. and pay them a living wage as you suggest and whadda ya know...maybe even benefits !
krisi asked (perhaps facetiously): ...why would you want to pay decent wages if you don't have to?
Companies do have to pay decent wages if they want customers out there who can buy their products. People who don't even have enough for necessities aren't going to be able to afford your useless gewgaws. Relying on your competitors to pay decent wages so their employees can buy your products doesn't work if all companies do the same thing.
Not sure whether I buy this...when I go to to the store to buy a T-shirt or an iPhone I don't really think about cleaning lady in California that sweeps floors at Apple or a guy in China that is involved in producting that particular product...I look at the performance and price, and the lower the price is typically the better ;-)
True, that worked at the time...not anymore...silicon valley will not benefit from paying higher salaries to non-essential workers...and most people around the world can already afford to buy a cell phone
The model we seem to have in North America is to make as much money as you can, evn by exploiting others, and then maybe give up some part of it thru charity
The time has nothing to do with it, the place does. One could argue that the concept is working well in China as more and more people are able to afford domestically made (for China) goods that would previously be considered luxuries.
A good read is "Why Nations Fail". It's not definitive, but it a good thinking piece.
Making money is good, and should be the goal of companies. No money, no company. Companies though out of necessity focus on short term goals. Truly long term goals have been field of goverments.
So, can one argue it is the fault of companies, or that of government without the vision, goals, and political tools to achieve the national long term growth expected .... or the undue influence of one on the other resulting in failure of long term goals?
thank you Jeff, good point...I think it is hard to blame the companies, they are profit driven, and they have to be...I would blame the government which should be trying to make the society more just...Kris
Rick, this is a big problem in Silicon Valley. What many technies fail to realize is that most of us are one terrible illness or bad decision decision away from living in the Jungle.
Sunnyvale Community Services and Sunnyvale Rotary have been working to tackle the homelessness issue for years. If you want, I can put you in touch with Marie Bernard, the executive director of Sunnyvale Community Services.
KurtShuler you are so right on this one, it only takes a bad decision or two to end up homeless in Silicon Valley. I do know of one person who is an immigrant going thru this. He recently returned to his native country after several people raised funds for his travel. Not all educated immigrant's story is a sucessful one and we hear almost nothing about those.
One of the most effective and active organizations in Silicon Valley devoted to the poor, elderly and diasadvantged is the Community Services Agency in Menlo Park. They can be found at csacares dot org. (The spam blocker prevents me from posting the web address) They have an outstanding staff that works tirelessly of behalf of those most in need. Thier Exec Director is Tom Myers, son of long time SEMI president Stan Myers. They deserve all your support.
On my last visit to San Francisco (March 2014), I didn't expect to see so many homeless walking the streets. The numbers were staggering. We don't see that on the east coast so much anymore at least not in Boston and New York.
30 years ago, I would have never walked through Times Square, especially at night. Today, I feel perfectly safe. The same goes for the area of downtown Boston formerly known as The Combat Zone. Today, the old abandoned theaters have been renovated and people go to shows there every day.
"... as few as 1% and 3% of the employees at many of Silicon Valley's top tech firms are black or Hispanic, ... contractor companies ... are made up predominantly of people of color." I wonder where many shades of color among people of Asian origin would fit in this picture, and what the distribution of color is among those who camp there. Does any solution to the homeless problem have to involve color?
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