For months, Google and its corporate shuttles have been the prime target of backlash against tech-driven gentrification in San Francisco. But today, the company got a modest thumbs-up from the community.
The San Francisco Mayor's Office announced this afternoon that Google will donate $6.8 million over the next two years to the SF Municipal Transit Authority. The money will fund the Free Muni for Youth program, which offers low- and moderate-income youth free passes to the city’s public transit system. The donation will sustain the program and potentially expand coverage to 18-year-old students.
At a press conference at City Hall, community members stressed that while this is a positive step, it by no means cures the city's displacement crisis.
"I am still facing an eviction. I may have to leave San Francisco because I can't afford housing," said Manuela Estava, a resident and member of POWER, a community organization that supports working class families of color. "This is a good step, but we need Google and other tech companies at the table with the community to really address the deep impact they are having on families like mine all across the city."
Community advocates also hope Google’s donation will free up funds to start Free Muni programs for seniors and people with disabilities.
Top image: passengers boarding a San Francisco Muni bus (Michael Ocampo/Flickr)