Twitter symbol on smart phone with Elon Musk out of focus in background

Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter HQ into a homeless shelter

The pandemic has drastically changed the world, especially when it comes to working. During this time, multiple companies learned how many jobs can become remote. This is definitely the case with the social media corporation Twitter. At the start of the pandemic, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that employees could work from home indefinitely, including after the pandemic. On April 10, Elon Musk seemed to poke fun at this policy in a now-deleted tweet where he posted a poll about turning Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco into a homeless shelter because “no one shows up anyway“.

Convert Twitter HQ to Homeless Shelter?”

After six hours of the poll, the large majority voted in favor of transforming Twitter’s building, with about 90% of the over a million votes saying yes. 

Musk often tweets polls, sometimes serious questions, sometimes not. Hours after the poll about reforming the HQ into a shelter, he posted another one, asking his followers if they should “delete the w in twitter,” with the only possible answers as “Yes” or “Of Course”. This poll has also been deleted. In a subsequent tweet, he stated that he was “serious about this one,” referring to the poll about the homeless shelter. But serious or not, there has been no further word about it and the tweets about it are gone. [1]

However, at the time, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos praised the idea. He tweeted an article from technology blog GeekWire discussing the eight-floor family homeless shelter attached to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. He said the initiative “worked out great” and suggested Musk could turn at least a portion of Twitter’s HQ into a shelter. In response, Musk thought this was a great idea. [2]

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Screenshot of Elon Musk’s Twitter

Amazon’s Homeless Shelter in Seattle

According to Geek Wire, this homeless shelter is called the Mary’s Place Family Center. It has eight floors and 63,000 square feet that can serve 200 people per night. It opened to families in March 2020 to help those struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic. [3]

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“This new shelter, opening when it did, has been our saving grace,” Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place, said in a news release. “It was our neighbors at Amazon who recognized what we needed before we ever realized it, and this space ensures we don’t have to return families to homelessness during this unprecedented and trying time.”

The layout includes private rooms to enable social distancing and onsite health services. There is also a large dining room, workspaces, children’s play areas, industrial kitchen, bathrooms, and facilities for laundry. The shelter is separate from the Amazon offices with its own private entrances. 

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“Mary’s Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community,” said Bezos said in 2017 when the company announced plans for the shelter. “We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters.

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Elon Musk is the Largest Shareholder of Twitter

Musk has recently become the largest shareholder of the company, with a 9.2% stake, and he even recently proposed to buy Twitter outright for 43 billion dollars. Twitter later announced that Musk became added to the board but Musk decided not to join. In revised disclosure forms, Twitter said that “[Musk] may express his views to the Board… and/or the public through social media or other channels with respect to the Issuer’s business, products and service offerings.

As Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal explained, “The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward,” he said. “I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.[4]

Ironically, days before this promotion, Musk blasted Twitter, saying the company stifles free speech and that he has considered creating a competing social media platform. “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Musk posted in a Twitter poll. 

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Will the Shelter Happen?

It remains unclear if Twitter will transform its headquarters into a homeless shelter, but Amazon has proven that it could be done. San Francisco is a wealthy city with a large homeless population. In 2020 alone, there were about 5,200 unsheltered homeless people. If Twitter HQ truly is devoid of employees, the space could be put to better use. [5]

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Sources

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  1. “Elon Musk floated the idea of turning Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter.Business Insider. Jyoti Mann.April 10, 2022
  2. “Musk polls followers on converting Twitter HQ to homeless shelter; Bezos likes idea.” Financial Post. Maria Ponnezhath. April 10, 2022
  3. “Photos: Inside Amazon’s new 8-floor family homeless shelter attached to its Seattle HQ.” Geek Wire. Kurt Schlosser. May 21, 2020
  4. “Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter HQ into a homeless shelter.” New York Post. Ariel Zilber. April 11, 2022
  5. “San Francisco is decaying.” The Spectator. Michael Shellenberger. February 13, 2022
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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