San Francisco's Twitter Employees Must Step Past All These Homeless People To Get To Work

When Twitter decided on San Francisco’s long depressed Tenderloin district for its new headquarters it implied many things.

The technology giant made it clear they were committed to San Francisco, and the city made clear it was committed to Twitter by offering tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks.

The move was intended to revitalize a blighted neighbourhood that had not previously been gentrified.

It looks like the plan may slowly be working. The Tenderloin is still gritty, and overall rents are still lower than the rest of the city, but the place is changing.

We visited Twitter’s HQ and walked the Tenderloin talking to those who seemed affected by it the most.

There is a neighbourhood like San Francisco's Tenderloin district in almost every city in the world.

The Tenderloin's 'Bawdy Houses' have been synonymous with a free wheeling raunchiness and the underbelly of San Francisco for generations.

But the Tenderloin was also one place that people could land a cheap room without hitting the streets, and the days of that particular safety net are rapidly coming to a close.

With Twitter's arrival in the Tenderloin in 2012, luxury apartments followed and rents began rising throughout the district.

The people who can't afford their rent anymore often have no place else to go, and many join San Francisco's already swollen homeless population.

All of that means the folks at Twitter have a colourful commute through a gritty part of San Francisco before they arrive here at 1355 Market Street.

Twitter's new headquarters landed in the southern part of the Tenderloin about two years ago.

Twitter and its 1,500 San Francisco employees aren't the only tech employer in the area, but they're the largest employer in this part of the city.

Twitter decided on the Tenderloin as part of an idea to help revitalize the area and save a bunch of money through tax breaks extended by the city.

But just blocks away, homeless residents congregate and cameras patrol the scene 24 hours a day.

The area near City Hall and Twitter's HQ is known for drawing people who have no place else to go for the day.

Their homeless neighbours are something Twitter employees have come to accept.

This young man told us his name was Doug and he panhandles on Market Street to supplement his job at a commercial laundromat. He sleeps in the subway.

Doug told us that the only difference he's seen since new workers began showing up, is that more people rush past him without a look.

Doug works Market Street because this is where the people with money to spend come to shop in San Francisco.

Russell told us that the shoppers are why he comes here, as well. 'I started coming to Market Street to panhandle when my wife passed in 2005,' Russell said. 'People always been good to me here, but for the past couple years I got even more people looking out for me. I can tell people care. They just don't know what to do.'

Of course, it may simply be that Russell's location is more lucrative.

Most shelters expel guests in the morning, but without any place to go, they can only watch other people commute. It can be frustrating.

Just blocks away from this subway station, the average Twitter software engineer is making $US120,894 a year.

Source: Glassdooor

The average software engineer intern is making $US41.17 per hour.

Interns who get paid $US85,633 a year have to step past people like this before they get to the office.

The city spends $US165 million a year on services for the homeless, according to a Board of Supervisors report.

As long as people with few resources have no place to go, and little to do that earns income ...

... they end up in the Tenderloin.

The commute to San Francisco can be a beautiful thing.

Like the city of San Francisco itself.

But not for everyone.

Homelessness is not just a San Francisco problem.

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