Eric Elliott has a unique perspective on homelessness and code. He sees the startup scene (and lack of remote work options) as one of the primary drivers of expensive housing — and therefore homelessness — in the bay area. And he thinks he knows how it can be fixed.
His essay has bold ideas, and he's a strong advocate of remote work. He even uses Automattic as an example. Additionally, he sees programming as such a huge opportunity for job growth going forward that he things it's the perfect field for job training programs.
His recipe is four steps:
- Recovery: Double down on housing first. It’s a proven program that’s already decimated the chronic homeless problem in forward-looking cities around the world. We need to keep doing more of it, and expand our efforts to improve support to help individuals find and maintain their footing on their own after they’ve been housed, with…
- Support and Mentorship: Train those newly housed people to code to give them a stable, high-paying career so they can stay off the streets, permanently.
- Countermeasures: Expand remote work policy adoption to take pressure off of housing-taxed cities like San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Offering remote work also provides opportunities to people living in isolated areas, or places hit hard by economic forces (like Detroit). No matter where remote work is implemented, it helps people everywhere.
- Prevention: Expand tech education in k-12 schools to prepare children for the shifting job market. In just a few years we’ll need millions more programmers to fill the US demand, and nearly every job will require a deeper understanding of how computers work. Nearly half of today’s jobs will no longer exist by the time the youngest generation reaches adulthood. We need to prepare them for that future.
Part of his initiative is to promote Programming Literacy, a campaign to teach kids to code.
I'm not in San Francisco full time, but his arguments make sense, and I definitely am encouraged to see someone working to fix the problem.