A tech worker once publicly berated for his
negative comments on the homeless
population is floating an idea to put people
living without shelter on a cruise ship.
In an interview with The Guardian, Greg
Gopman, a serial entrepreneur and a former
Twitter contractor, revealed plans to build
a homeless shelter in the San Francisco Bay
aboard a 13-deck vessel that was retrofitted
for use in the Mediterranean refugee crisis.
The project would be funded in part by
listing select cabins on the ship on Airbnb,
The Guardian reported.
The proposal comes at a time when San
Francisco is in desperate need of an
affordable housing solution. An estimated
7,499 people live without permanent
shelter in the city. San Francisco has one of
the widest wealth gaps and largest
homeless populations in the country.
The cruise ship would allow a homeless
person to stay up to two years. Job training
and personal development programming
would also be offered.
Gopman told The Guardian he hopes the
education component will help lift people
out of low income brackets. “Someone
who’s homeless can be a computer
developer at Google,” he said.
The project has drawn mixed reactions
from local organizations that work with the
city’s homeless population, largely because
of the past controversies surrounding
In 2013, Gopman, who was working at the
fourth startup he founded, wrote a
Facebook post slamming the “homeless,
drug dealers, dropouts, and trash” he came
across in downtown San Francisco. “The
degenerates gather like hyenas, spit,
urinate, taunt you,” he wrote. “There is
nothing positive gained from having them
so close to us. It’s a burden and a liability.”
The post went viral. Industry blogs and
social media condemned his insensitive
remarks. In 2013, Gopman was fired from
his contract job at Twitter when a
TechCrunch article resurfaced his
inflammatory comments from the past.
Since then, Gopman has sought to educate
himself on issues around homelessness and
become involved in causes that help those
individuals get back on their feet. In 2015,
he founded an advocacy group called A
Better San Francisco, which champions
housing solutions for the poor.
The cruise ship idea was inspired in part by
an op-ed by former San Francisco Mayor
Art Agnos published in the San Francisco
Chronicle earlier this year. Agnos, who led
the city from 1988 to 1992, recommended
creating a temporary homeless shelter
aboard a retired Navy ship.
Gopman and Agnos are working together to
get the Mayor’s Office to consider the
The cruise ship is currently on the market
for $13 million. The costs of renovating the
vessel for more permanent housing could
add millions more to the listing price.
Gopman hopes to see the proposal through,
despite his past.
“It’s very possible [that] for this thing to
happen, people would have reservations
about me being involved,” he told The