Homlessness and technological literacy: the Tenderloin Technology Lab

Wired profiles Darrell Pugh, a formerly homeless man who teaches people who have no homes or are otherwise in economically precarious position how to use networks and computers, at the Tenderloin Technology Lab in San Francisco. It's an amazing story and draws an important connection between technological literacy and the ability to live a full life in modern society. Pugh's own perspective on this ("Educating myself and passing what I know onto other people so they can try, that’s all part of what I think we need to do. We shouldn’t hold back our knowledge from each other. We should share it so we’re all better.") is fantastic.

After earning his certification, he landed a job at a phone company, helping people fix problems with their DSL internet connections. A few months later, he lost the job when the facility where he worked was shut down, but the experience helped boost his confidence and, ultimately, changed the course of his life.

In 2009, he spent the last of his cash on a bus ticket to San Francisco. When he arrived, he promptly landed in the hospital with a kidney stone, and his doctors diagnosed him with type II diabetes and asthma. But he wound up getting help at St. Anthony’s, a non-profit that offers medical care to the city’s homeless, and St. Anthony’s pointed him to the Tenderloin Technology Lab. At first, he hung out at the lab just to use the computers and scour Craigslist for jobs, but he ended up sitting in on a computer hardware class and eventually asked the teacher if he could serve as an assistant, pointing to the certification he’d earned in Florida.

The teacher told him no. He wanted Pugh to teach the whole class himself.

The Internet Is a Universal Human Right. Just Ask the Homeless [Daniela Hernandez/Wired]

(Image: Alex Washburn/WIRED)