The San Francisco Bay Area is renowned as a tech mecca, but the technology industry’s success in the City by the Bay comes with some unpleasant side effects. Chief among them is housing. The constant influx of well-paid technology workers has helped make San Francisco the second least affordable housing market in the U.S. as of October 2014. The demand for affordable housing projects is far beyond what the city can supply, according to the New York Times. The resulting growth of the San Francisco Bay Area homeless population has become a constant reminder of the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, and between the technology industry and everyone outside of it.
Not all in the tech industry are turning a blind eye to the issue. For the 2014 holiday season, SSD cloud VPS hosting provider Atlantic.Net, which opened its first San Francisco data center earlier this week, is partnering with San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect. Founded by then-Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom and the SF Department of Public Health, Project Homeless Connect exists to help streamline the processes by which the San Francisco homeless population can access social and medical services, resources, and aid. The organization has assisted over 75,000 homeless and low-income persons in San Francisco as of October 2014, according to the Project Homeless Connect website.
Atlantic.Net will donate 100 percent of the revenues from its San Francisco data center’s first month of operations to Project Homeless Connect, according to Atlantic.Net President and CEO Marty Puranik. When he spoke to Enterprise Networking Planet, Puranik said that estimating the exact contribution would be difficult, but “we’re hoping it’s going to be in the five figures.” Atlantic.Net opened its SF data center in response to customer demand for a Bay Area location, so it’s safe to say that the company has some revenue locked down from the start, good news for both the company and for Project Homeless Connect.
Puranik noted that “If you go out to California or San Francisco, there seems to be a broadening divide between technology and pretty much everybody else. I go there pretty regularly. You can see the divide. Tech is part of the problem, but we want to say that technology companies can be part of the solution.”
While five figures might be a drop in the bucket when it comes to the needs of the San Francisco homeless population, Atlantic.Net’s efforts stand out as a clear and immediate response to the problem. The last several years have seen relations between those in the SF tech industry and those outside of it grow tumultuous. Tech industry efforts to crowdsource solutions to Bay Area homelessness coexist alongside nasty comments about the San Francisco homeless community from tech industry leaders. The holiday season, as we’re often reminded, is about giving. Atlantic.Net is doing just that.
“If you go there, you see people outside, people are really hurting. It’s great that tech companies are making a lot of money and making a lot of people rich, but what it’s all about, it’s not about people in tech, it’s about all of us. We’re a society. We’re not just a tech company,” Puranik said. He added, “You want to create an environment where it’s not ‘Heads, I win; tails, you lose.’ We can all win at this.”