A formerly homeless man gave us a tour of the gritty neighborhood in San Francisco that's been overrun by tech companies
Over the past several years, the Tenderloin - a San Francisco neighborhood known as an enclave for the city's chronically homeless - has been infiltrated by tech companies. The rent is cheaper than anywhere else downtown, and the city provides tax breaks to companies planting roots in specific low-income areas.
Del Seymour spent 18 years living on the streets of the Tenderloin, where he said he was once "the biggest dope dealer." Today, he leads walking tours of the neighborhood for tech workers, residents, and tourists, to show that the area and its inhabitants have more to offer.Seymour, 70, is also the founder of Code Tenderloin, a non-profit organization that helps the formerly incarcerated, homeless, and similarly marginalized residents develop job-readiness skills and find work at the same tech companies that have moved into the neighborhood.
The Tenderloin and the area surrounding is still the epicenter of homelessness in San Francisco, with 49% of the city's homeless denizens living there, according to a 2017 count.
We took the Tenderloin Walking Tour with Seymour. Here's what we learned.