The annual music festival, South by Southwest (SXSW) typically generates tons of publicity each year. Held in Austin, Texas, the 10-day festival includes news conferences on the latest technological trends, film screenings, and live performances from numerous high profile musicians. The event is essentially a smorgasbord of everything pop culture related.
However, this year’s festival has drawn controversy over its Homeless Hotspots programs. More than a dozen homeless individuals were paid by an ad agency to carry Wi-Fi routers in order to allow SXSW attendees to access wireless internet. Each person wore a t-shirt bearing a code that the attendee could then text in order to receive an access code.
Whether you find this offensive or not, it has brought national attention to the issue of homelessness. Change Nation thought this would be a good moment to point out the “Real Homeless Hotspots” throughout the U.S.
It should be fairly intuitive that the numbers are very conservative. Aside from homeless shelter records and manually counting every distinct homeless individual, it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate estimate of how many people are actually homeless.
Whether or not you find the Homeless Hotspots program offensive, the real outrage should be the “Real Homeless Hotspots.” America is still the richest country in the world. We have enough to make sure that no one should have to turn themselves into a wireless station in order to earn a few dollars.
“Photo credit: Bart Everson, Flickr”