Report: Apple struggling to help homeless people cleared from encampment

Apple Destination Home Build Site Tim Cook Gavin Newsom
Apple Destination Home Build Site Tim Cook Gavin Newsom (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple helped move people from a homeless encampment on its property.
  • The company spent millions housing dozens of people in a motel for nine months.
  • The motel stay has now expired, but Apple is struggling to help permanently house 25 of the people who were displaced.

A new report says that Apple is struggling to find permanent accommodation for many of the homeless people displaced from the encampment on its property last year.

The Seattle Times reported Monday that Apple has spent "millions of dollars" to house all of the people displaced from its property last year in a motel for nine-months.

The report says that Apple has managed to permanently house eight people from the group, but that "more than three times that many were still awaiting placements days before the deadline."

From the report:

The situation, which left multiple residents anxious about where they would go when the clock ran out, highlights just how difficult it is to pull people out of homelessness in the Bay Area — even for one of the world's most valuable companies.

The report says that Apple "faced a series of hurdles that are mirrored throughout the region." Namely, a struggle to find affordable housing, gaining the trust of the people involved, and overcoming obstacles such as arrests, addictions, and other medical and mental health needs.

Lori Smith of HomeFirst, a non-profit that heads up Apple's program to rehome the group, said the motel "worked quite efficiently for some program participants" but that more time was needed for others.

Apple told the outlet "We've been working with partners across the state to support at-risk communities and provide new affordable units."

As the report notes, a vacant lot owned by Apple in San Jose grew into a large homeless encampment during the COVID-19 pandemic, which Apple cleared at the end of September. Apple paid to house all 56 residents in a San Jose motel and paid for a year's worth of case management services to help find the residents permanent housing, healthcare, and more. However, the report says that 25 people were still living in the motel and awaiting housing just a week before the deadline, with the prospect of emergency shelter beds at hand if accommodation wasn't found.

The report says that of those who have already left the motel, half have moved into permanent or transitional housing. Unfortunately, ten people were forced to leave the program early "after getting arrested or otherwise breaking the rules."

One activist says that Apple isn't doing enough and that the motel program should be extended, stating that if these people end up on the streets it "is entirely Apple's fault."

In 2019 Apple committed $2.5 billion to help with California's housing crisis, and announced last year that $1 billion of this had already been deployed. Tim Cook said of the issue in 2019 that "affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution."

You can read the full report here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9