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Silicon Valley Firm Outfitting Homeless With SXSW Swag

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Banners hang in the atrium of the Austin Convention Center on Thursday, March 7, 2012 on the eve of the opening of the 27th South By Southwest (SXSW) interactive, film and music festival. The 10-day event is a magnet for thousands of technology innovators, independent film-makers and up-and-coming musical performers. AFP PHOTO / Robert MacPherson (Photo credit should read Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images)

Banners hang in the atrium of the Austin Convention Center on Thursday, March 7, 2012 on the eve of the opening of the 27th South By Southwest (SXSW) interactive, film and music festival. (Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, Texas – A Silicon Valley company is partnering with an advocacy group to outfit the homeless with swag given away at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

Mashable reported that Palo Alto-based software firm Medallia and the Austin-based Foundation for the Homeless were collecting the SXSW freebies – such as t-shirts, hats and ponchos – from the conference attendees to give to some of Austin’s estimated 2,300 homeless.

Volunteers said they collected 15 pounds of clothes on Saturday, and expected to collect even more on Sunday, according to the report

Andrew Nunnelly, a staff writer at Medallia, told Mashable the effort was well-received. “People have been saying, ‘Oh, let me run back to my hotel real quick!’” he told Mashable. “People are loving it. One guy was like, ‘I don’t have any swag, but you can take my hat.’”

According to the City of Austin, some 900 of the city’s homeless are identified as chronically homeless – those who have been homeless for at least a year or four times in the past three years. Up to half of those are considered at “high risk of imminent mortality.”

 

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