Culture

One Viral Photo Illustrates The Alarming Employment And Housing Problems Of The Bay Area

by Araceli Cruz

July 30, 2018

"This is my make-it-or-break-it moment," David Casarez said. "I have to do something crazy."

The 26-year-old told an NBC affiliate that he was just looking for a big opportunity to break into the coveted tech world of Silicon Valley. So, on July 27, Casarez did what many of us have done: got dressed up in a professional outfit, primped up the ol’ resume, and handed it out.

Casarez, however, stood at a busy intersection holding a sign that read: "Homeless, hungry 4 success, take a resume." 

It was hard to miss Casarez, who braved the heat in a collar shirt, tie, and slacks that day in Mountain View, California. Makeup artist Jasmine Scofield did more than glance over at Casarez. She took his picture and tweeted it out. 

“Today I saw this young homeless man asking for people to take a resume rather than asking for money,” Scofield tweeted. “If anyone in the Silicon Valley could help him out, that would be amazing. Please RT so we can help David out!”

And people definitely retweeted. As of this writing, the tweet has been retweeted more than 100,000 times. 

Scolfield followed up with Casarez and tweeted more about his background. “I just got off the phone with David,” she said. “We spoke for about an hour. He came to the Silicon Valley with a dream to be successful in tech and has a lot to offer the community. He’s sleeping in parks & still trying to get freelance work, interviews, and applications in.”

Other people contacted Casarez as well. Google, Netflix, LinkedIn, and many other companies have already reached out, according to Scolfield, and they’re not the only companies either. Several Twitter users tweeted that they’d be interested in hiring Casarez. He’s reportedly received at least 200 job offers so far.

Austen Allred, CEO of Lambda School—an online program which trains people to be software engineers at no up-front cost—went a step further and took Casarez under his wing. “Emailed him,” Allred tweeted. “He’ll be taken care of one way or another, probably doesn’t even need us. Anyone else with this much gumption and hustle please send my way.”

Allred went on to say that his Bay Area-based program have provided him with housing so he could focus on interviews. “I’ll be shocked if he isn’t hired a month from now,” he tweeted. 

Casarez tweeted that while he was overwhelmed with the amount of support he had received, he did realize that his hustle on the street would attract attention.

"I knew it would be posted on social media, [but] I didn’t know it would blow up like this," Casarez told NBC. "I’m trying not to take any money, I really do just want a job opportunity, that’s all I’m asking."

Perhaps the most alarming aspect to Casarez’s situation is that despite having a solid resume, he couldn’t land a job since he arrived in the Bay Area last fall. He said that he “underestimated the cost of living” and wound up living in his van until June of this year. He then couldn’t afford to make the payments on his van and began sleeping the park.  

In May, the California Housing Partnership released a report which showed Casarez is one of many trying to manage employment while living in the Bay Area. The report concludes that “workers are required to earn four or more times the minimum wage just to afford an apartment,” and recommends that $2 billion be used to build apartments for low-income Californians.

Image via Jaysc0/Twitter.

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One Viral Photo Illustrates The Alarming Employment And Housing Problems Of The Bay Area