Andrea Urton, who grew up homeless in Los Angeles, has seen how little corporate interests tend to care about helping the impoverished.
So it was with some surprise when she received a phone call from an Apple representative.
“I have never had an Apple or a Google or a Facebook reach out to me personally and say, ‘We really want to work on developing this property that we own and we don’t just want to kick people off,’” said Urton, the CEO of HomeFirst, an organization that provides services to homeless people in Santa Clara County, the Silicon Valley home to numerous tech companies, including Apple.
It’s the kind of antipoverty effort that some of the California tech giants have embraced in recent years even as their expansions have reshaped communities, strained local housing supplies and led to an increase in homelessness.
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But while Urton thinks Apple “wanted to get it right,” other activists see the efforts as falling short of addressing the ongoing issues around housing that they say are largely fueled by Big Tech.