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San Francisco | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Marc Roth was homeless. Then he learned to make things. Now he wants to help others.
by vonnik
Friday Feb 21st, 2014 1:09 PM
Marc Roth came to SF looking for a job. He ended up homeless. The city's healthcare saved him. Finally, he learned how to make things at TechShop, and now he wants to teach other homeless people the same skills to help them get off the street.
In a tiny computer lab tucked away at the top of SF TechShop, eleven mid-20-somethings stare intently at a screen. On the screen, an Indiegogo campaign struggles, with only $5,463 of its $60,000 goal reached.

A fast-talking Australian named Eoin McMillan stands at the front of the room scribbling markings on a white board. “When you talk to journalists, you need to understand the narrative,” he says. “Homeless to hacker. It resonates.” The volunteers nod.

In the back, a burly older bearded man interjects with his input. “The majority of the homeless population is not what you would think of, people in doorways,” Marc Roth says. “It’s people where you wouldn’t necessarily be able to spot that they’re homeless.”

Roth would know. He spent five months living in a homeless shelter in 2012, after moving to San Francisco from Las Vegas.

Roth’s story is one for the books: He fought his way out of poverty using nothing more than a TechShop membership, perseverance, and a little help. Now that he’s sorted out his future, he’s trying to raise money to help other homeless individuals do the same through TechShop training.

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