Does everybody remember Greg Gopman, the former CEO of AngelHack who wrote an angry screed a year ago about how Market Street is a "grotesque" carnival full of "crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash" who "gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, [and] they act like they own the center of the city"? Well, he's sorry about that, and he's spent the past year "learning about homelessness... the many reasons why people become homeless, and the near impossible road to recovery they all share," and in the spirit of Silicon Valley better-world-making he's come up with a point-by-point plan for solving the whole thing. And, more remarkably, the Chronicle published it.
There's a slightly longer version of it here, on Medium, complete with generic photos of the homeless like this one which may have been shot in Boston. Long story short: Gopman is hoping to improve his image (he contacted us directly with the above links) and simultaneously address the intractable problem of homelessness in SF by having a pretty naïve-sounding Homeless Town Hall. This is so that everyone who has lived here less than five years can talk out this problem that has actually existed for several decades, and which multiple mayors and many Supervisors have tried in many, many ways to address.
If this sounds dismissive, given Gopman's apparent sincerity and contrition, it's meant to. If one year one feels like homeless people are nothing but an inconvenient obstacle on one's way to work, and the next one decides to become their new savior believing that the problem persists because no one in government is smart enough to figure out a solution, that is both naïve and quite arrogant.
Gopman, like Peter Shih before him, became persona non grata for a couple of weeks following his December 2013 statements on Facebook, which he quickly retracted but which nonetheless helped fuel an ongoing fire about how the city's new tech-boom arrivals were contributing little to the community and just generally being jerks. The statement also, directly or indirectly, led to Gopman getting sued by AngelHack's co-founder, who said that Gopman's rant brought "shame and disrepute" on the company and its employees.
In related and very pertinent news, SF's "homeless czar" Bevan Dufty is in fact doing something proactive in the form of a new one-stop aid complex in the Mission dubbed the Navigation Center, where currently homeless people along with their pets, significant others, and all their stuff can get moved in for up to 10 days "while an army of aid workers finds them permanent housing." As the Chron reports, this is an eight- to ten-month pilot project and aims to address both the distrust of "the system" that many homeless feel, and to keep people connected with their street communities through the process so that they don't return to them just out of loneliness or habit.
In other related news, a new study suggests that rising wealth leads to people becoming bigger jerks.