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'Spotlight' on Homelessness Tweet Chat #homelessSFchat

Kelly Salance

Last week as part of the June 29th media takeover to put a ‘spotlight’ on homelessness. our very own Tiffany Apczynski, ED of the Neighbor Foundation and VP of Public Policy and Social Impact at Zendesk, lead a tweet chat, #homelessSFchat, to foster a conversation about the homelessness crisis in San Francisco. We wanted to share with you the conversation we had.

Q1: Who should be responsible for solving the homelessness crisis in SF?

The short answer is everyone! Many tweets discusses how homelessness is everyone’s issues and it falls on everyone in the community to figure out innovative solutions to this problem. It is going to require a coordinated effort from government, community, business and San Francisco organizations.

Q2: What’s the biggest misconception about the homeless in SF?

We all agreed that there is a multitude of misconceptions about people who are experiencing homelessness. From a typical profile to why a person is homeless, there are a lot of myths and rumors swirling about. On of our community partners, HandUp wrote an article addressing the common myths people think about homeless people. This article addresses common myths people this about homeless people. The fact is, there are many different reasons why people become homeless. You simply don’t know a person’s story so making assumptions can be dangerous. 

Q3: What do organizations that assist the homeless in SF need most?

At this point, the conversation turned to how people can get involved. It is one thing to conceptualize how our community thinks of the homeless but its another to turn these thoughts into tangible actions. For this question, many of our local no-profit partners tweeted in what they need to successfully do their jobs. Some common themes were general support, including volunteers and money. Curry Senior Center also touched on the need for change at a governmental level. 

Another partner, St. Anthony’s, echoed Curry Senior Center and also added that they need people to be open to connecting with their neighborhood in need. 

Q4: What should people do to help the homeless they see on the street?

There is a lot you can do to help someone on the street and many of these things are small, simple gestures. One theme many people tweeted about was treating people with empathy and compassion. It is important to remember that we are all people, in this together. Smiling, acknowledging someone, and treating them with respect can go a long way. 

Q5: What is tech’s role in helping to solve SF’s crisis of homelessness?

This can be a difficult question to answer but people tweeted about using your platform, job and skills to empower others including the local organizations that are experts at working to solve this issue.

For more on this topic and ways to get involved check out this article on the Zendesk blog.