Thanks to my employer, I was sent to San Francisco for a conference. Naturally, I couldn’t squander a free flight, so I extended my stay out and spent an entire week in the Bay Area. I traveled around the city, checked out the the scene in Silicon Valley, and rented a Tesla S for a day. Beyond measure I enjoyed my scant time in the area, and I especially enjoyed my time driving the car I hope to someday have in my life. My trip wasn’t without curiosity or introspection, and one thing I noticed more prominently in San Francisco than I have anywhere else I have traveled was the volume of homeless in San Fran.
I think it that any sentence that mentions San Francisco also mentions the homeless problem that plagues the streets of the worlds startup capital. However, even this nonchalant phrase says something about how we view the homeless. We easily disregard them, and forget about them being more than a nuisance- they are a plague that shake their cups at us employable people, pleading for coins that we don’t give.
But they are people, regardless of their fall from civilized society. The causes for homelessness vary, but the assumption that there is some underlying psychological disorder is outdated, and unfortunate. Homeless people are then people indiscernible from you are I, capable of functioning in a society provided the society is accepting and offers the ability for improvement. Some would say that acceptance is a hard thing to achieve. Our culture can be very shallow, and we are often quick to judge others based on their personal appearance and hygiene. I found this to be extremely obvious after I watched this short video– an unkempt alcoholic turns into an investment banker in a few time lapsed minutes.
So then, the homeless problem is a human problem and there should be no differentiation between us and them. There is little separating myself from the mass of people on the street, save for a job. I may be ignoring some glaring problems with this assumption, but from my pitiful research and personal experience this idea remains stable. As a functioning human in our society, I sympathize with these people, and I feel compelled to offer assistance.
However I am not an idealist. I know what money I may hand a homeless person will not go to better their lives- by the time many homeless find themselves truly destitute and broken a bottle or a needle seem like greater salvation than employment and contribution. This is a condition of being homeless, not of becoming homeless. I also am not a wealthy person, capable of influencing great change with what spare coin I do offer.
What I am is an idealistic coder, capable of typing a pseudo-foreign language that can be used to do something. I am attempting to make something in my free time that may help someone, hopefully. If you read this, you are capable of opening a web browser and reading, both of which lead me to believe you are capable of thought. I challenge you to do something as well, anything that may benefit society in ways that don’t just benefit yourself.
Change something wrong, not tweak something that you can then make money off of (so many startup ideas revolve around this shallow and unimportant concept).