Twitter is moving closer to opening a million dollar learning center for the homeless called the "Neighborhood Nest" across the street from their headquarters in Downtown San Francisco.
While that is definitely a good thing, the company isn't doing it solely out of concern for the city's poor; they are also getting a substantial tax break out of it.
The Neighborhood Nest is in partnership (pdf) with Compass Family Services, a nonprofit agency that serves San Francisco's homeless and has an operating budget of around $8 million annually.
The idea of the center would be to provide a safe place for the city's homeless where they can come learn new skills from Twitter volunteers. Along with tech-oriented skills, volunteers will also teach resume writing. The center will also provide a space for children to play while their parents are learning.
It will also provide more access to computers. Many homeless have to go to the public library in order to use a computer and often there are long lines or a time limit for computer usage, says Erica Kisch, executive director of Compass Family Services to the San Francisco Chronicle.
For months Twitter leaders have met with homeless families, members of Compass and others to determine what the center might look like. A projected opening date for the center is sometime during the summer of 2015.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the Chronicle he's been impressed with Compass Family Services.
"We've put down deep, enduring roots in San Francisco and are committed to transforming lives right here in the neighborhood where we work," Costolo said in a statement. "I've been impressed with Compass Family Services' track record and can't think of a better partner for this."
Twitter's initiative in building the learning center isn't solely for the benefit of others, however. The creation of the center will fulfill a "community benefit" obligation as part of the city of San Francisco's effort to prevent Twitter from moving elsewhere. The city allowed certain companies like Twitter to avoid payroll taxes for six years by signing an agreement promising to contribute to some of the city's poorest areas.
Building the Neighborhood Nest will satisfy that agreement for years to come, though, Twitter's partnership with Compass won't fulfill the company's obligations for 2014.
Photo: Jeff Gunn