Image: Flickr, Creative Commons
Silicon Valley is supposed to embody the 'cutting edge' of technological and social innovation. But even the thought leaders in that bastion of tech entrepreneurship, that hub for mighty philanthropic-minded creative disruption, haven't figured out a way to create a community where the people who serve them food are not forced to live in homeless shelters and tent cities. For many residents in America's shiniest future-forward community, the 'cutting edge' has only brought them to the brink.
According to the Silicon Valley Index, there are now more people on food stamps than in 10 years (after the dot com bust) and homelessness has spiked 20% since 2011.
The Associated Press reports that "Hispanics, who make up one in four Silicon Valley residents, fell to a new low of about $19,000 a year— capping a steady 14 percent drop over the past five years."
And that's not nearly enough to pay the bills. Business Insider breaks it down:
The median price for a home is $550,000, while rent is, on average, a little under $2,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. And a family of four in Silicon Valley needs about $90,000 a year in order to cover rent, food, transportation, and childcare, according to the nonprofit Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
In its piece, the AP looks at a tent city where once-employed residents are struggling to get by. We meet out-of-work landscapers and building managers who are unable to find work, even as tech stocks soar.
In Silicon Valley homelessness has increased 20% in the last 2yrs. People can't afford accommodation on minimum wage of $9.50p/hr.— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) April 8, 2013
Bill Moyers took a similar approach in the segment above, which aired on his program over the weekend. The ex-tech company employees and cafeteria workers he interviews live in tent cities—and are now facing eviction—while, naturally, the mega rich get mega-richer a few blocks away.