Twitter's Neighborhood Nest Teaches Tech to SF's Poor & Homeless

To teach tech skills to the poor and the homeless, for whom the digital divide means the difference between a future and a fate, Twitter has teamed up with Compass Family Services to establish Neighborhood Nest. NotImpossibleNow.com's Kyle Gold spoke with executive director Erica Kish.
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To teach tech skills to the poor and the homeless, for whom the digital divide means the difference between a future and a fate, Twitter has teamed up with Compass Family Services to establish Neighborhood Nest. NotImpossibleNow.com's Kyle Gold spoke with executive director Erica Kish.

Erica, can you let us know where you've come from and what your project with Twitter encompasses?

Compass Family Services is a non-profit in San Francisco that's been around since 1914. We started out serving young women who were coming across country for the Expo in 1915. We've been helping populations in need ever since.

Our project is a partnership with Twitter, a neighbor of ours as of a couple of years ago, and we're creating the Twitter Neighborhood Nest, which is going to be a technology center for the families we serve: homeless parents and children and, hopefully, others in the community. It's going to involve Twitter staff coming across the street, because the Nest is located across from Twitter's main headquarters, to provide teaching, tech support and mentoring to our client population to help to bridge the digital divide.

There were a lot of ideas on the table, but the most logical one, given Twitter's expertise and the clear need for technology among poor and homeless folks, was to create a tech center combining our social service expertise and our population in need, with their expertise and their desire to give back to the community, not only through creating this center, investing money into it, but to be a place where their staff could actively volunteer.

The Nest is a place for folks to learn, but it also has a living room area for kids and small children. We're going to provide some drop-in child care, so it's suppose to be a family-friendly place to learn tech skills, but also to feel welcome, and where parents can bring their small children, and the children can feel comfortable, and play, and have snacks.

There's a lot of details to still figure out. Nobody should be without a home. We're human beings. We're not meant to live on the streets. Children should not be without a stable place to call home. The community as wealthy as San Francisco and the Bay Area, we should be able to house everybody.