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Database programmers sleeping rough in San Jose

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Former dotcom workers in Silicon Valley have ended up on skid row after their high flying firms went titsup.com.

It's always being thought that staff from failed e-commerce ventures had gained marketable experience, however ropy the business plan of the firms they worked for was.

However Associated Press has uncovered evidence to the contrary after visiting the soup kitchens and homeless shelters that lie on the flip side of the American dream. Depressed database programmers and the like have joined drug addicts, alcoholics and the mentally ill as society's hard luck cases.

Nearly 30 unemployed high tech workers are among the 100 men at shelters run in San Jose by charity InnVision, according to Robbie Reinhart, director of the charity, who said the high cost of housing in the area in contributing to the problem.

Part of the problem is that workers at start-ups have dedicated themselves to their job, almost to the exclusion of anything else, so redundancies have hit staff especially hard. It's a depressing picture and there's precious little hope of an early resolution of the problem.

Ilene Philipson, a clinical psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley, told AP: "People have given up all sorts of things to give to their job, and when there's a layoff there's no other support for them."

The unemployment rate in San Francisco has risen to 4.2 per cent from 2.6 per cent a year ago, according to figures obtained by AP. ®

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